Posts Tagged ‘recession’
People are always interested in how consumer behaviour changes, particularly after big events like a recession. New research from Kantar Media now show that, compared with five years ago, consumers these days are miserable, minging slobs, or “unhappier, unhealthier and less concerned by their appearance” as they put it.
Since 2008’s downturn, consumers’ health, appearance and happiness have all taken a “significant knock” according to Kantar, leading to “profound behavioural changes” in the relationship between consumers and food.
Kantar claims that the dark days of the recession led consumers into finding comfort and reward in more indulgent and less healthy foods, with the proportion of adults who said their diet was very healthy falling from 41% in 2009 to 36% today. Today’s consumers are also ”less fussy” about their appearance, with only 54% claiming to look after the way they look, down from 62% in 2009. In some areas, we reckon the percentage is even less…
But even if you are still clinging on to your health and your looks, chances are you aren’t happy. Today, only 49% of adults are “happy with their standard of living” down from 58% in 2009. Similarly, the proportion of adults who say they are happy with their life as it is has fallen from 63% in 2009 to 57% today.
The problem, according to Kantar, is that we are now associating junkier food and takeaways with happiness- after all, the recession meant that going out for a meal was often replaced by a cheeky takeaway. Little pleasures. But this isn’t just bad news for our waistlines and looks, producers of healthier and organic foods are also down in the dumps.
“The consequence of this declining happiness amongst British consumers and its link to healthy eating is that interest in the likes of organic and fair trade food will be unlikely to pick up again until the economic recovery not only improves consumers’ quality of life, but also ultimately delivers higher levels of happiness,” said Anne Benoist, director, Kantar Media TGI.
“The fast food industry has, to a certain extent, repositioned itself during the downturn so that it is no longer so synonymous with junk food…This has helped consumers feel less guilty about what they eat. The healthy food industry needs to undertake a similar re-positioning so that eating healthily is no longer equated with unhappiness in consumers’ minds.”
So we may now be glum, gelatinous and grotty as consumers, but it could be worse. We could be eating healthy food and be even more miserable…
*assuming you weren’t one already.
That’s technically the drift behind new official figures, which also detail that the recovery since 2010 has also been stronger than first thought too.
Due to some changes in the methodology that Office for National Statistics, now show that the downturn after that lovely crash in 2008 was less than previously assessed with GDP shrinking by around 6%. Less than the original estimate of 7.2%.
Each year’s growth from 2009 to 2013 has been revised by 0.4%, due to faster growth in investment.
Everyone still suffered though, right?
It also flies in the face of the claims that George Osborne’s austerity package isn’t quite what it’s all claiming to be. Massive surprise there.
Yet Labour’s former chancellor Alistair Darling was responsible for a less disastrous crash. Which helps Labour maintain and prove that living standards have deteriorated under the current administration despite the improved recovery.
These new revisions to the ONS are part of a bigger deal where they must now comply with international standards in measuring GDP and national accounts.
But it turns out that rather than just being a trendy, half-arsed conceit pedalled by drinks brands, vintage stores and other self consciously hip companies, pop up shops are actually making money for the economy: £2.1bn, in fact.
Pop up shops are the children of the recession – temporary stores in empty properties or in town centres where rents are too high to sustain them – so it’s no surprise that they’re flourishing.
But a recent study by EE suggests they’re an economic force to be reckoned with. There are 9400 pop up shops in the UK, which employ 23,400 people – and they’re likely to grow by 8.4% in the coming year.
We’re spending money in them, too. The report predicts that the average customer spend will grow from £110 to £120 next year.
Mike Tomlinson from EE says that pop up shops are a ‘breath of fresh air’ and ‘truly embody the entrepreneurial nature of the UK.’
So think about that next time you’re in that shady branch of American Sweets, looking at a dusty box of Lucky Charms and wondering whether it’s all a front for money laundering.
Despite the economic recovery that everyone is being told is happening, a survey by Legal and General has shown that 4 in 10 of us feel even less job security now than they did at the height of the recession.
Perhaps as a result of being battered round the head continuously for the past few years with frozen wages, high cost of living and dismantled public services, it seems that it’ll take more than some blah blah-ing about economic recovery to help us feel better.
L&G’s Job Security Index revealed that only 1 in 10 workers felt more secure in their job since economic growth returned, compared to 37% who said they felt more insecure. 46% of people said that the economic climate had nothing to do with their job security – but they probably filled in that box really quickly while they were busy slopping out pigs/working in Greggs.
Mark Holweger from Legal and General said:
‘It’s interesting to see that despite the reports of green shoots in our national economy, and significantly lower unemployment rates in recent months, this hasn’t quite filtered through into how many UK workers feel about their own job. It’s clear that it will take time for economic improvements to result directly in increased confidence.’
Maybe it’s because we’re still not seeing any MONEY and we’re living on Fray Bentos pies from Poundland?
It’s a sign of the times when a supermarket has to cut back on its cleaning bill to save cash, but that’s what mucky Morrisons is doing this winter. In a triumph of bizarre logic, bosses have decided to cancel window cleaning at all its stores in a war against slipping sales, which dropped by 2.4% in the third quarter of this year.
The argument Morrison’s have given is this.
‘The weather forecast for this winter shows an increase in snow and frost.’
And as we know, snow is CLEAN. Except when it melts and becomes like grit filled human effluence. They added:
‘Morrisons has decided to reduce window cleaning at stores because it is less important to customers at the darkest time of the year, because the water that runs off windows can be a slippage hazard in the winter, and so we can spend money on maintenance activity that our customers do care about at this time of year.’
Like tinsel! (Covered in dirt).
The cut came into effect on the 2nd December and window cleaners won’t be back again until February, when presumably, the shop will be just called ISONS, and coughing, diseased staff will have desperately scrawled ‘CLEAN ME’ all over the front of the store.
Don’t know about you, but I might take my business elsewhere…
British people are too busy worrying about money and wasting their lives on social networks to do the one thing that is free AND fun – having sex. So says the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published today.
According to the survey, people in the 16-44 age bracket are having less sex than they did 10 years ago – just under 5 times a month – as we’re all too paralysed with worry about our low incomes and using Facebook and Twitter to distract us from our woes. They’re calling it the ‘recession impact’ (But a good alternative would be ‘Twitter Droop.’)
Professor Kay Wellings said: ‘There’s a strong relationship between unemployment and low sexual function, according to the literature. That is to do with low self-esteem, depression. At the other end of the scale iPads and computers have all breached the boundary between the home and the bedroom.’
Yes, all those under-the-covers ipads and smartphones are stopping us getting some good loving. We’re so distracted by watching Kanye’s video and then the following 36 spoof versions of Kanye’s video, that we’re failing to ride off into the sunset naked on a motorbike ourselves.
Are we OK with that? Well only one in 10 of us admitted to having sexual problems, and cited ‘lack of interest’ as a common reason not to do it. So maybe we just prefer to be on Facebook?
Do you remember the halcyon days of 2008 when everyone had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it? Despite George’s claims to the contrary, a new report by Asda and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that UK households will be £1,300 a year worse off in real terms in 2018 than in 2009 owing to rising costs, stagnating pay and austerity measures impinging on discretionary income.
For the past five years, Asda has produced a monthly Income Tracker, which measures the change in ‘discretionary income’ – how much families have left to spend each week after paying for essentials like energy, food and housing costs. Now they have produced a report which not only looks back over the last five years, but also predicts how things will look in another five years time, in 2018.
The figures show that, on average, we are £868 a year worse off in 2013 than we were in 2008, and that this will rise to £1,300 worse off in real terms by 2018.
Over the next five years the average UK household is expected to spend £3,900 a year more on essential items – like housing and utilities (up £652 a year by 2018), transport (up £663 a year by 2018) and mortgage interest (up £599 a year by 2018)- than they do today, with slow income growth and inflation making the pinch. Price inflation on essential items is expected to outstrip pay every month until 2018, and although disposal income is expected to remain stagnant at around £160 a month over this period, inflationary increases on discretionary spend will mean the real terms value of disposable income will continue to fall.
However, there is some regional variation and differences depending on your age and family circumstances. In 2018, pensioners (who are somewhat protected by inflation-clad pensions) and the well-off will end up better off than they are today, while low-income earners and single-parent families will be proportionately worst off. Youngsters under 30 will bear the brunt of the increased recession costs, with this group already being £200 a month down on 2008, and a further £200 a month drop in income anticipated by 2018.
Asda CEO Andy Clarke says: “Looking ahead to the next five years, one thing is clear: it’s going to remain incredibly tough for consumers. While the economy may be on the road to recovery the economic reality for them is very different depending on where you live and your age.”
No wonder we feel so skint. We are skint. Brits are officially moth-eaten, pond dwelling losers, earning some of the lowest wages in the EU. Even Spain, which has been hit by severe austerity measures, is doing better than us.
House of Commons figures show that the UK’s average hourly wage has dropped by 5.5% since 2010 – which puts us in the bottom four countries along with Portugal, the Netherlands and Greece. Conversely, in Germany and France, everyone is living it up with steins of beer and cheeky absinthes, with wages rising by 2.7% and 0.4% respectively.
With the recent news that British workers will have lost £6660 from their wages by the next election, things are looking grim. Shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said: These figures show the full scale of David Cameron’s cost of living crisis. Working people are not only worse off under the Tories, we’re also doing much worse than almost all other EU countries.Despite out of touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages.’
Why aren’t we taking to the streets to protest? Well, we would, but we’ve got to don our tabards and put in another shift at Chicken Cottage.
Chief Executive Phil Clarke tried to rectify the downward trend by investing £1 billion on more staff, new food ranges, new stores and lower prices. However, it hasn’t worked.
“What we’re in to is long term sustainable growth. It’s going to ebb and flow over a quarter but the direction of travel is the right direction,” said Clarke.
“These results go to show that, even with 1 billion pounds to throw at it, there are no guarantees,” said John Ibbotson, director of retail consultants Retail Vision.
This morning, Tesco shares were down 3.2 percent at 353 pence, among the largest drops by a UK blue-chip stock.
Expect a raft of new advertisements on your television soon, as that’s what always happens when Tesco finds itself in trouble.
Poundland, whose slogan – if you can call it a slogan – is ‘Everything’s £1’ has started to slash prices in some of its stores to 97p, in a bid to undercut its closest rivals, 99p Stores. Depressed yet?
It seems the battle of the not-quite-a-pound shops has been heating up in such UK hotspots as East Ham and Dudley, and competition to sell mop heads, pegs and One Cup teabags for less than a pound is getting fierce.
Jim McCarthy, chief executive of Poundland, explained the move to Retail Week.
‘It is those early weeks [when a rival opens] that are very important and if you can pop the balloon early we find that doing that rather than nothing at all is helpful,’ Mr McCarthy said.
(Balloons – 97p).
‘And it sends the message that we’re not a soft touch.’ He added.
(Soft Touch toilet paper – 97p).
‘It’s a bit like when a supermarket has a competitor opening nearby. They have hosts of tactics to dampen the impact.’
(5 pack of Tictacs – 97p)
It makes the mind boggle. What must the rubbish they sell actually be worth? 10p? 5p? 1p? If pound shop price wars continue, one day, everything will cost nothing, and we’ll just all stick our heads in a massive branded trough with FREE written on it, and consume knock off Mini Cheddars until we explode.
Not only do the over 60s have to be worried about who they may or may not have groped at the BBC in the 1970s – they’re also suffering a major debt crisis.
Over-60s owe an average of £23,000, a figure which is up 40% since the recession, according to debt charity Step Change. The problem is credit cards – seems that today’s beige warriors are more than happy to pay for M&S ready meals and Steradent on tick. And it doesn’t help that state pensions are miniscule.
Neil Duncan-Jordan, from the National Pensioners Convention, said: ‘People just don’t have the income to be able to sustain their lifestyle. The number of old people going to food banks is increasing. The number going for debt advice is increasing. The number of people really really struggling, usually in silence, is increasing.’
At the time when older people should be warming their hard working feet in their Big Slippers and feeling secure, it seems that the financial crisis has left us all completely shafted, whether we’re just starting out or winding down. Let’s all put a bottle of gin on the credit card and wait for death, shall we?
Thanks to TV shows like Changing Rooms and Tommy from Garden Force’s Creosote Challenge, Britain used to be in the grip of DIY fever. A bank holiday meant agonising hours trying to put up shelves, or destroying nature by replacing it with acres of decking. But NO MORE.
According to figures from Lloyd TSB, spending on DIY has been falling for five years in a row. In 2012, households spent £10.5 billion on DIY – which is £800 million less than in 2011, and a third less than in 2004, when we went crazy and spent £15.5 billion on grout and gazebos.
In Broken Britain, a lot of us don’t have the skills to do even the simplest DIY tasks. And in another survey by Aviva, they found that one in five young adults between 18 and 24 don’t own a hammer, screwdriver or spanner. Instead, we’d get a man in, but we can’t afford to pay them at the moment – with spending on tradesmen dropping by £4m.
So what are we doing instead? Well, we’re putting our feet up, having a beer and watching Britain’s Got Talent, while weeds grow outside and the roof slowly caves in. And I think we can all agree that’s so much better than standing in B&Q wondering whether to buy No More Nails or Unibond.
With most people struggling to make ends meet and trying to make breakfast by gluing the crumbs in the toaster together with tears, there’s not much money left for little luxuries.
But according to the Mintel Lifestyle survey, people are trying to make themselves feel better by beautifying themselves. Sales of beauty products went up by 11% per person since 2007, when the financial crisis hit. This so called ‘lipstick effect’, apparently happens when recession-hit women (and transvestites) just want to cheer themselves up with something cheap.
The survey also found that people are doing more cooking from scratch at home, including baking, inspired by such shows as the Great British Bore Off.
However, all this cooking while wearing make-up doesn’t seem to be making us happy. Only half of Brits said they were satisfied with their standard of living – compared to 60% in 2008. So it seems that we’d still rather be sunning ourselves on a yacht with Kanye than standing in Debenhams wondering whether to splurge our meager wages on a Clinque chubby stick or a silicon baking tin.
As austerity rumbles on, we all just need to keep going and look on the bright side. And at least we’ll look nice when we’re standing on the street with our ‘Homeless and Hungry’ signs.
As millions of people reject organic broccoli for other broccoli that tastes the same but costs less, organic products are being left on the shelf like a plain girl called Joan at a school dance.
Unsurprisingly, sales of organic products are being affected by the recession, leading to a 1.5% fall from last year – which continues their slow fall from grace. (Sales were down by 3.7% the year before).
In their annual report, The Soil Association also blames supermarkets for not bigging up organic products enough. Despite Bumfords with straw hats and acoustic guitars accounting for 16% of all sales, it’s a far cry from those heady days of 2008, when we were wallowing in baths of beetroot juice and hemp flavoured sausages, and spending £2.1bn on organic products.
However things aren’t all doom and gloom for organic farmers. Specialist retailers and online businesses are going strong with Ocado increasing their organic produce by 6.4%. In news that will shock nobody, most of these sales are concentrated in London, amongst people called Sebastian who bake their own black olive and sumac rolls.
Back in the real world, it just goes to show that when our pockets are practically empty, most people don’t give a monkey’s – 10p pickled onion Space Raiders will do just fine, ta.