Price rises caused by Brexit a big worry for UK consumers, survey finds
19 May, 2017, 19:02
Beyond concerns over rising prices, Brits are also anxious about "bigger picture" issues, with 68% concerned about the United Kingdom economy and 67% nervous about the state of the environment.
Mintel's British Lifestyles report, a survey which is in its 27th year, tracks consumer spending across all major markets.
Britons are increasingly prioritising spending on leisure activities and experiences over material possessions in what has become known as "the experience economy".
Despite growing inflation and economic uncertainty, Mintel reports that consumer spend past year grew 3.7 per cent to £1.2 trillion. While growth was seen in almost all of the 17 individual sectors included in Mintel's British Lifestyles report, it was notably lower across all fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) markets, reflecting ongoing supermarket price wars. But as many as 81% of United Kingdom consumers are concerned about the future health of the NHS, while 68% are anxious about the United Kingdom economy and 67% are nervous about the state of the environment.
In contrast, less than half of all adults (48%) are anxious about their ability to pay the bills and less than two in five (37%) are concerned about the burden of personal debt.
According to Jack Duckett, a senior consumer lifestyle analyst at Mintel, the research underlined consumer concerns over post-Brexit price increases.
"However, broader consumer confidence is still relatively strong". By 2021, it is projected that Britons will spend £1.4tn per annum - equivalent to 17% growth over the next five years.
Indeed, the leisure and entertainment market grew by an estimated 3.2% in 2016, outpacing the 2.4% growth estimated for the clothing, footwear and accessories category. Despite rising prices, most people still expect their finances to hold up well over the next year. Highlights from the 2017 report include the fact that Brits" eating habits are changing, with "healthy' foods the driving factor.
The drive to cut sugar in British diets resulted in increased sales of bottled water. Nearly a quarter (23%) of non-alcoholic drinks launched in the United Kingdom past year carried a low, no or reduced sugar claim, up from 15% in 2011. Half (48%) of bottled water drinkers say that concerns over sugar prompted them to switch, with sales growing by 9% in 2016 to £2.2 billion.
But it's not just about human company, as 21% say their pets have been a source of happiness.