Mintel’s consumer confidence data shows that the economy only has, at best, an indirect impact on sentiment. When the UK economy was outperforming most of its peers, many people were still pretty wary. However, in 2016 sentiment has continued to trend upwards, despite disappointing growth in the economy as a whole. April’s figures dipped slightly, but people are still more positive than there were for most of 2015.
What’s really interesting is the potential impact of the EU Referendum. Looking back at Mintel’s data around the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum and, later, around the General Election, Mintel’s data suggests that the uncertainty associated with these events has the potential to undermine confidence, but that sentiment strongly rebounds when the uncertainty is resolved. A “remain” vote could well boost confidence, even if there is no underlying improvement in the consumer economy.