NEWS25 October 2018

British optimism declines to lowest level in 2018

Brexit FMCG News Retail Trends UK

UK – Optimism among British consumers has dipped to its lowest level this year in October, with a third expecting to be worse off in 2019, according to research from insight and forecasting consultancy Trajectory.

Gloomy outlook_crop

The consumer optimism survey for October found that the index has decreased by four points to 46/100, marking the second consecutive month of decline. 

A third ( 35%) of those surveyed expect their personal finances to be worse in 2019 than they are currently, while almost half ( 44%) expect the country’s overall economic situation to worsen in the next year.

The research also indicated a rise in pessimism over personal agency – 15% of respondents felt they had a low freedom of choice and control over their lives, compared to five percent in February. Generation Y reported the largest loss of choice and control over how their lives turn out – from 13% in September to 18% in October.

More than a third of respondents claimed they plan to spend less in the next few months – 37% said they will cut back on leisure spending (including out-of-home food and drinks), 26% said they would reduce their spend on subscription products, and 31% claimed they would cut back on ‘big ticket’ items.  

The company began tracking consumer optimism via a monthly online survey in January of this year, with optimism at its highest level in April, at 57/100 (scores of over 50 indicate higher levels of optimism).

Tom Johnson, managing director at Trajectory, said: “With the Brexit negotiations drifting towards their conclusion and the prospect of no deal rising, it seems that UK consumers are not looking forward to the months ahead. The financial outlook is negative and optimism lower than we have seen it – driven not just by the economic doom and gloom but by a growing resignation and futility about the country’s future.

“The short-term impact will be belt-tightening and a real squeeze on all forms of leisure spending. The longer-term impacts are perhaps more pervasive – people feel less autonomy over their own lives and a growing sense that the future won’t be better than the past. That’s a big shift in our collective social outlook – and suggests that the post-Brexit environment will be every bit as challenging as the current situation.”

The Trajectory Optimism Index is an online survey of 2,000 British adults. The data for this month was collected between 11th-17th October.