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Consumer confidence index in Belgium 2018-2020

From January 2018 to August 2020, there was an overall decrease of the consumer confidence indicator in Belgium. Unsurprisingly, the growing concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was reflected in the confidence of consumers. Although the economic consequences are yet to be fully evaluated, in August 2020, the consumer confidence indicator was -26 percentage points. However, negative answers steadily outweighed positive answers since November 2018.

Consumer confidence during the 2020 sanitary crisis

The confidence indicator rests on a monthly survey, thus reflects the current confidence of consumers. In March 2020, Belgian consumers forecast pessimistically the economic situation of Belgium for the year to come. For instance, consumers predicted an unfavorable development of unemployment in 2020. The consumer confidence indicator also evaluates personal attitudes towards personal finance. Early 2020, prior to the confinement, the share of Belgian consumers who viewed their financial situation positively increased. However, in March 2020, fewer consumers were optimistic about the future of their finances than in February 2020.

Consumption behaviors during the coronavirus pandemic

From January to March 2020, an increasing share of Belgian consumers notably believed it was the right time to save money. Indeed, in March, for the first time in two years, consumers believed it was not a good time to make major purchases. Ultimately, confidence is bound to vary alongside with the consumer’s perception of the coronavirus crisis. For instance, in March 2020, sales of certain products such as hand-sanitizers or toilet paper have skyrocketed due to the public’s perception of the pandemic.

Consumer confidence indicator in Belgium from January 2018 to August 2020

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Source

Release date

September 2020

Region

Belgium

Survey time period

January 2018 to August 2020

Number of respondents

1,850 respondents

Method of interview

Telephone interview

Supplementary notes

Every month a completely different representative sample of 1,850 people is questioned about the macroeconomic situation in Belgium and their own financial position and consumer behavior. The sample is representative for the geographic, social and demographic differences in Belgium and they are asked to answer a qualitative questionnaire with their own assessment or expectation. The questionnaire is built around different topics; the Belgian economic situation, personal financial situation and personal attitude towards savings and consumer behavior.

Macroeconomic questions on unemployment and the Belgian economy, and personal questions about the financial position of the household and the savings of the household are used to calculate the consumer confidence indicator. The source explains: "For each question, calculations are performed to find the percentage of all participating consumers reporting an improvement (positive responses), the percentage reporting a deterioration (negative responses) and the percentage stating that there has been no change. In calculating these three percentages, responses are unweighted and the difference between the 'positive' and 'negative' percentages constitutes the balance (the response) for the question. For example, if the number of positive responses equals the number of negative responses the balance for the question is zero; conversely, a balance of +10 means that positive responses outnumbered negative responses by 10 percentage points."

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Statistics on "Coronavirus impact on the Belgian economy"

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