CCI Number: -10.9 (September)

HEADING FURTHER TOWARDS NORMALITY OR CATASTROPHE?

Freemavens consumer confidence index recorded its highest value since the pandemic hit home in March 2020, up 12.09% on August. Are these further signals of a return to normal?

September was an eventful month. We saw a major fuel crisis, controversial changes to Universal Credit and further signs of global warming were apparent with the 2nd hottest September recorded to date. All seemingly influencing our CCI number.

On September 30th, the government’s uplift to Universal Credit (UC) came to an end. This was met with a huge negative response of 57% across social conversations. The conversations condemned the government for the recent cut and expressed growing fear of poverty in the country. That said, the ONS figures indicate that the amount of people on UC fell by 3%. This is further supported by the steady increase in employment we have seen in the UK in recent months, which has had a huge impact in consumer confidence.

As September came to an end, we saw long lines of cars waiting to refuel. This quickly got out of hand with many petrol stations having to close. This fuel crisis developed a shift which is taking place in the car market: the return of the electric car conversation.

The growing popularity of electric cars amongst consumer had been severely hit by the pandemic, which saw many people returning to petrol. However, a fuel crisis means very smug electric car owners don’t have to wait in long queues and is perhaps a new incentive for consumers to consider when purchasing a car. In fact, it seems that the crisis has affected the markets in a positive way as sales for battery electric vehicles were the highest they have ever been, stealing a huge 15.2% of the car market. See you later fossil fuels.

September also marks the start of Autumn, and a change of season often signals a new beginning. That was apparent in September’s CCI as we noticed a rise in people searching for ‘new gyms’ up by 22.2%. Conversations about the gym on social media centred around the “first time” experience, with majority looking to return after a year and a half away. With summer also coming to an end, it was apparent amongst conversations that after a heavy few months spent eating and drinking out, it was time to focus on health as things settle. This was supported by an 18% drop in searches around nearby bars and restaurants.

The continuing rise in confidence is a positive, however we are aware that Covid Cases are also on the steady rise, so October may not be as rosy as we hope it to be. Let’s wait and see.