CCI Number: -12.4 (August)


After months of slow improvement in consumer confidence across the UK, August regressed slightly to -12.4, 11.7% down from July. But what has caused the slight U-turn?

Come fly with me

For months now we have seen the travel traffic light system impacting on the growth of tourism. August was no exception as the return to normal continues. However, with the pandemic still very present, there are fears around international travel with more people turning to mid-level airlines like British airways and Emirates rather than their cheaper counterparts. This has mainly been driven by cheaper airlines struggling to issue compensation in light of cancelled flights.

When comparing to pre-pandemic levels (2019), searches around cheap flights and holidays abroad are down 63%. True flight figures published by Eurocontrol suggest flight activity is around 34% down from 2019. When can we anticipate travel returning to normal? Eurocontrol have published several scenarios which suggest pre-pandemic tourism will return in 2023-2024. However, Freemavens CCI, which aggregates and models against travel data, search, and social data, suggests that tourism is likely to return to normal in 6-8 months if the current rate of growth continues. So, watch this space.

Invest in me

Investing is an indicator in our CCI which rose significantly at the height of lockdown. We are seeing green shoots once again around interest in investing and saving. The main topic discussed on social media is around recouping the rainy-day fund used during lockdown. Search around ‘Best saving accounts 2021’ rose by a whopping 3,400% from 2020 followed by ‘Investing’ which rose 700%. However, when talking about investment, social suggest that some are more concerned about investing in their personal development as well as their finances. With employee turnover being at an all time high, how are employers investing in their staff?

The appliance pandemic

We also saw a shift in white goods during August. There are early indications that could suggest that lockdown took a toll not only on our wellbeing, but on our appliances too. During the month of August, we saw a rise in people searching for appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and washing machines. Diving deeper, we uncovered growing frustrations amongst the UK population around breakdown of their machines. Could this be due to overuse? A lot of the social conversations seem to suggest that the breakdown of their appliances occurred over a 2/3 year life span. ‘Washing machine repair’ was a breakout search term in August. This could be an early sign for what might be at the top of the Christmas Wishlist.