British consumer confidence rose to its highest since February in the first half of December, before a new variant of COVID-19 prompted the government to tighten lockdown restrictions across England, a survey showed on Thursday.
The YouGov/CEBR consumer confidence indicator rose to 102.9 in December from 102.2 the month before, bolstered by a stronger outlook for household finances and broader economic activity as a vaccine against COVID-19 began to be rolled out.
The survey took place between 1 - 18 December, and YouGov's director of reputation research, Darren Yaxley, said he expected sentiment to decline following the subsequent sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and renewed lockdown across most of England.
"While these metrics and the overall index indicate hope towards the end of 2020 ... job security indicators declined, something that is likely to fall further after the announcement of the new strain of coronavirus and subsequent restrictions before Christmas," he said.
A similar survey from market research company GfK, conducted from 1 - 11 December, showed its sharpest rise in eight years on the back of positive vaccine developments, though in outright terms it only returned to its September level.