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Shopper confidence remained stable in December, despite increased Covid-19 restrictions over the Christmas period and uncertainty over EU Exit, according to the latestIGD Shopper Confidence Index.

While many shoppers did not have the festive period they had planned for, confidence appeared to be held up by Christmas food and grocery shopping and the rollout of the first virus vaccine.

Despite sitting at a relatively low level of -6, December’s score remained unchanged from the previous month and is still at the highest level since February 2020.

A breakdown of the data reveals a significant change in confidence on a week-to-week basis – notably, that the score increased to 0 at the start of the month as the nation emerged from the second lockdown and the first vaccine was administered.

This then dropped to -8 the following week with the introduction of stricter tier four restrictions in England, and by the end of the month saw a slight boost to -6 in line with an EU trade deal announcement.

Simon Wainwright, director of global insight at IGD, said:“While it’s encouraging that overall confidence is still the highest it’s been in nearly a year, we can see that December was a turbulent month as shoppers navigated the constant changes brought on by rising Covid-19 cases.

“This uncertainty will likely continue for the foreseeable future as we enter a new national lockdown and shoppers contend with the deepening economic downturn.

“It will be key for retailers and suppliers to remain agile in responding to further changes in shopper behaviour and to demonstrate value for shoppers across all physical and digital touchpoints.”

Index highlights

- Confidence has changed significantly by region with notable declines in London and the South East, corresponding with a tightening of restrictions in these regions.

- Confidence has increased the most among 45-54s.

- With shoppers focused on their Christmas meals, 17 per cent were more focused on quality rather than saving money.

- Over a third (32 per cent) expect to be worse off financially in the year ahead (+1 per cent vs. last month). However, only 17 per cent expect to be better off.

- Trust in the food industry has increased to the highest level since June 2020.

- With environmental issues attracting media attention ahead of COP26, 44 per cent trust the food industry to limit their impact on the environment (+6 per cent vs. Nov 2020).

The full IGD Shopper Confidence Index is available to subscribers onIGD ShopperVista.