Consumer confidence in NI increased at end of 2018, but major worries persist
Consumer confidence in Northern Ireland surprisingly increased in the final quarter of 2018, but remained below the level it was at in the first half of the year and throughout most of the period from 2014-2017.
The Danske Bank Northern Ireland Consumer Confidence Index rose to 127, up from 123 in the third quarter and 123 at the end of 2017.
Despite the rise in confidence, the survey did reveal that people still have a number of concerns. Almost 40 per cent of people said that political uncertainty and the continued absence of a Northern Ireland Executive had the largest negative impact on how they were feeling. In addition, 17 per cent of respondents said that developments during the Brexit negotiations in recent months negatively impacted them and a further 12 per cent pointed to the UK Government’s longer-term Brexit objectives as the factor that had the largest negative impact on confidence levels.
In terms of what drove the increase, one significant factor was people’s pay packets getting bigger. Almost a quarter of people highlighted rising wages as the factor that had the biggest positive impact on their confidence levels. Consumers also pointed to low interest rates and increasing house prices as other factors impacting them positively.