Major purchases in particular hit low as economic conditions tighten

Shoppers confidence down to 1995 levels

Consumer confidence is at its lowest point since 1995 for major purchases, according to GfK NOP’s October figures.

Consumers, however, have a slightly better outlook for smaller purchases, as well as expectations about personal finance and the general economic situation. The

"This month, the Index score slipped down another point. The measure for major purchases is now at its the lowest level since December 1995, which we suspect to be a knock on effect of Christmas just being round the corner, on top of a reluctance to spend large amounts of money at a time when higher interest rates are beginning to take effect," said senior research executive at GfK NOP, Joy Rachael.

"However people’s forecast for their personal and general economic situation over the next twelve months has seen small increases, indicating a more positive outlook for the future."

Major purchases, which are defined as furniture, electrical goods and so on in the article, saw confidence drop to -5 from -3 last month. The figure is 11 points lower than the same point last year, and is the lowest it has been since December 1995 when the figure was -9.

The news comes as manufacturers in Taiwan warned that shortages of small to medium screens had reached 30 per cent, causing many vendors to bulk purchase for 2008 in an attempt to avoid any shortages that might impact their productivity.

The warning, which echoed comments made by market research firm IDG late last month, come at a time the managing director of Comet admitted that sales of large electrical items where being impacted by rising in mortgages, fuel and utility bills.

However, he said that the downturn was not affecting consumer electronics, with laptops and large screen televisions driving much of the company’s year-on-year growth.

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