Scottish Consumer Sentiment Indicator: 2024 Quarter 1

An official statistics in development publication.

The latest results for consumer sentiment in Scotland based on a quarterly survey of households’ current sentiment and future expectations of economic performance, household finances and attitudes to spending.

Data and Methodology

The Scottish Consumer Sentiment Indicator has been compiled quarterly since Q2 2013, initially based on a face-to-face survey of approximately 2,250 adults in Scotland. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the consumer sentiment survey was paused in March 2020 and restarted as an online survey in June 2020 with a quarterly sample of c. 3,000 adults in Scotland. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, data were not collected in the last two weeks of March 2020 and in April and May 2020. Therefore there are no results for Q2 2020 as a whole and in Q1 2020 results are based on 2,129 adults instead of 2,250.

The survey asks respondents questions to ascertain whether sentiment has improved, declined or remained unchanged across 5 indicators:

  1. Current Scottish economic performance over the past 12 months;
  2. Expected Scottish economic performance over the next 12 months;
  3. Current security of households’ financial position over the past 12 months;
  4. Expected security of households’ financial position over the next 12 months;
  5. Current attitude to spending money over the past 12 months.

Indicator scores for each question are presented in the form of net balances. The net balances are calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents that report a decline in sentiment from the percentage of respondents that report an improvement in sentiment, excluding respondents that report unchanged sentiment. In each quarter this shows whether the balance of responses is positive, negative or balanced. From this, the composite Consumer Sentiment Indicator score is derived as the average of the net balances for each of the five indicators.

On a quarterly basis, the distribution of responses to questions and the net balances provide a snapshot of consumer sentiment. The change in net balances between time periods can also show whether sentiment is improving or weakening. Taken together, the latest net balance scores, and the change compared to previous periods, provide an early signal of potential changes in household spending, a key component of Scottish GDP.

This publication is currently classed as Official Statistics in Development. Official statistics in development may be new or existing statistics, and will be tested with users, in line with the standards of trustworthiness, quality, and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics. These statistics are currently being developed and have been published to involve users and stakeholders in their development, and to build in quality and understanding.


Background Information

The following supporting documents have been published:

  • Excel tables of results, including monthly data.

The Scottish Consumer Sentiment Indicator also features in the Monthly Economic Bulletin and the Chief Economist’s Scottish Economic Insights report. Links to the latest versions of these publications can be found and accessed at: Economic briefs and bulletins - (

The next quarterly publication of the Scottish Consumer Sentiment Indicator is due in July 2024.



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