German consumer confidence improved slightly in February, with the GfK index standing at -33.9 points, down from -37.6 the previous month, which represents the fourth consecutive increase in the indicator, it was announced today.
“With the fourth consecutive increase, the positive trend in consumer sentiment is consolidating. Although the level is still very low, pessimism has recently decreased,” explained Rolf Bürkl, consumer expert at GfK.
“Falling energy prices, such as gasoline and heating oil, have ensured that consumer sentiment is less pessimistic. However, 2023 will still be difficult for the national economy,” Bürkl warned, as private consumption will not be able to make a positive contribution to economic development this year.
In its analysis, the consulting firm points out that German consumers’ income expectations continue to recover, after the corresponding indicator rose for the fourth consecutive month to -32.2 points, leaving behind last September’s all-time low, although it is still 49 points below last year’s level.
In addition to income expectations, consumers’ economic outlook is also improving significantly at the beginning of the year. As a result, the economic indicator rose 9.7 points to a total of -0.6 points, meaning that it is almost back to the long-term average of around zero.
“Consumers apparently increasingly have the impression that the recession that many experts expected for the German economy this year will be less severe than was feared a few weeks ago, and may even be avoided altogether,” the consultant explains.
Meanwhile, the propensity to buy decreased this month, with the indicator falling 2.4 points to -18.7 points, meaning that the constant ups and downs of recent months continue into early 2023, given the increased uncertainty due to multiple crises and the fact that many households expect significantly higher heating bills in the coming months, for which they are already saving money.