UK consumers are starting to cut back on spending as their personal finances are coming under increasing strain.
From January 2017 to January 2018, the net difference between respondents agreeing/disagreeing with the statement “I am visiting the shops less often these days because I am trying to save” changed from -0.7 to -2.9, a minor shift in favour of reducing spending.
While overall the majority of UK households are decreasing retail spending to increase their savings, the picture varies greatly across regions.
In Scotland, the majority of households were feeling more relaxed about retail spending in January 2018 than they were a year ago, with a net change of +17. On the other hand, the majority of households in Wales and the West Midlands are now cutting their spending to increase saving compared with January 2017.
Households in Northern Ireland have made the most significant changes in their spending behaviour.
In January 2017, the majority of Northern Irish households were already cutting their spending to boost savings, but this has increased substantially to -36.7 – a change of -25. This dramatic change coincides with a more pessimistic economic outlook, with Northern Irish households the most downbeat about the overall economy in the UK.