Concerns over the outcome of the referendum on Britain's membership European Union and ongoing economic problems in the Eurozone contributed to keep the confidence of British consumers at its lowest level in over a year, a survey released on Thursday (31 March) showed.
Market research firm GfK said its overall consumer sentiment index stood at zero in March, unchanged from the previous month and the joint-lowest reading recorded since December 2014. Meanwhile, British consumers' confidence over the health of the economy in the next 12 months fell 18 points compared to the corresponding period in 2015 to -12.
"Despite good economic headlines about low inflation, interest rates and prices in the shops, concerns about Brexit and the ongoing Eurozone crisis appear to be hitting home," said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.
The survey found that consumers, who have been the driving force behind the British economy over the last three years, were less inclined to spend on big-ticket items than they were in February as worries related to geopolitical issues offset the benefits of low prices.
Economists believe Brexit to be the main concern on consumers' minds. Britain's growth could suffer, at least in the short term, should the UK vote to leave the EU, while the government's decision to hold the referendum on 23 June is likely to dent confidence in the run-up to the vote.