Confidence up in May: Survey shows stronger consumer buying plans

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BUYERS are set to spend more, with housing and cars likely to be the main beneficiaries. The latest monthly survey of purchasing intentions from Verdict, the market research group, confirms the recent trend towards rising consumer confidence, writes Gail Counsell.

The study, which records the buying intentions of about 2,000 adult consumers in index form, showed that purchasing confidence improved by almost 7 per cent in May, The index has risen in five of the last six months, with April the exception.

Respondents are asked whether they are seriously considering buying in the next six months a house or flat, a car, a large kitchen appliance (such as a cooker), a large piece of furniture (such as a three-piece suite), men's or women's clothes worth more than pounds 100 at one go, or items to decorate a complete room.

Last month recorded a sharp increase in the numbers intending to buy a car, with 10 per cent of respondents saying they would, compared with only 7 per cent in April. Verdict says it believes the longer-term pattern is about 10-12 per cent.

Housing also showed positive results, with 6 per cent saying they intended to buy a property, for the fourth month in a row. This follows a consistent 4 per cent figure between September and January.

Purchases of electrical goods are also set to rise, with the percentage intending to buy an appliance rising to 9 per cent, the highest figure since the index began a year ago.

Commercial property continues to recover, according to Investment Property Databank. The total return for all properties in April was 0.6 per cent, with yields improving in retail, office, and industrial properties, despite continuing falls in rent levels.