UK consumer confidence has improved significantly since the beginning of the lockdown, with a fifth of households now thinking they will be better off in the next 12 months.
PwC’s June 2020 Consumer Sentiment Survey
, puts overall confidence at -11, a huge improvement on the -26 figure recorded at the start of the lockdown in March.
Those aged between 18 and 24 are the most optimistic (+24) while the 45-64 year-olds are the most pessimistic (-24).
While sentiment remains below a post-election high of +3 at the end of 2019, it is still higher than during the 2008-09 recession and the 2011-13 austerity period.
Encouragingly, PwC’s May survey also showed that the majority of households have, to date, been unaffected financially, with government stimulus cushioning the blow for many – and one in five are even saving money.
The survey also gives cause for optimism to the UK's battered leisure sector, as it suggests that consumers are eagerly waiting for the reopening of leisure businesses from 4 July onwards.
With disposable income not being a current concern for most consumers, the survey points to a "bumper turnout" for some businesses.
When asked if they were missing their regular activities, nearly a third of gym goers (30 per cent) said they missed it "a lot" – with those aged between 25 and 34 particularly eager to get back to the gym (43 per cent).
Encouragingly for the fitness sector, gyms came on top as the activity people would be prepared to return to ‘immediately’ (17 per cent), while air travel was the activity with the least amount (7 per cent) of "immediate returnees".
Of those aged between 25 and 34, almost a quarter said they’ll be at the gym on reopening day.
“The reopening could not have come at a better time," said Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader of industry at PwC.
"For the moment, consumers still have money to spend and are missing their favourite activities.
"For the gym sector, there’s a hardcore base of customers who can’t wait to come back.
"There’s every opportunity for operators to maximise consumer willingness to spend through the summer once they are safely able to open.
“However, the future may see increased risks of unemployment affecting consumer sentiment and further virus outbreaks causing restrictions to be tightened.
"This will favour those businesses that are better prepared, through embedding longer-term resilience, capitalising on emerging consumer trends and embracing new business models.”
• To read the full PwC report, click here.