NEWS12 July 2022

Almost a third of UK consumers insecure about finances

Cost of Living Covid-19 News Retail Sustainability Trends UK

UK – Close to 90% of people in the UK feel the cost of living is more expensive than at the start of the year, with 62% feeling a “moderate” or “dramatic” impact in terms of inflation, according to data from audience insights company GWI.

Older lady examining  gas/electric bill with concern

GWI said that 30% of consumers describe their current personal or household financial situation as “not secure”, with 50% of people feeling “somewhat” financially secure. 

The data is based on three 2022 GWI Zeitgeist surveys carried out in January, March and April, with a sample size of more than 2,000 UK internet users aged between 16 and 64.

Rising costs are being noticed by higher and lower earners alike, with 34% of higher earners and 47% of people in lower wage brackets saying they were cutting back on spending. 

The data also showed people are making lifestyle changes to save money, including using less energy in the home ( 52%), walking and cycling more ( 44%), and preparing meals at home ( 41%). In addition, 44% of people have reported spending less compared to 2020.

When asked what UK consumers are likely to spend less on, treats/luxuries, nights out, eating out and clothing are top of the list, while consumers are also increasingly conscious of essential purchases such as groceries and fuel, indicating the crisis is starting to bite.

Sustainability may also suffer due to the consumer dilemma. Even though 52% say they plan to be more careful with their energy usage and 44% plan to walk or cycle more, this is likely to be short-lived, according to GWI.  

When asked about the barriers to living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, the cost of eco-friendly alternatives came out on top ( 48%). Similarly, just a fifth of UK consumers said they buy sustainable clothing, or plan to change to green energy providers.

GWI chief research officer Jason Mander said: “Our data paints a wider trend of cutting back on costs amid the rising cost of living – something that we can expect to be felt by more people as Covid-19 savings start to dwindle.

“Even though many may feel that they are not yet at a crunch point regarding finances, the consumer dilemma is starting to make itself known and there are choices being made throughout the purchase cycle, even for those who are feeling relatively comfortable.

“Early casualties are luxury items and ‘treats’ such as nights out and takeaways, but we’re already seeing concerns over the cost of what are, for some at least, unavoidable purchases like fuel. It’s becoming increasingly crucial for companies to understand the daily choices that consumers are having to make.”