Only a third of Britain’s shoppers have no spare cash?

15 August 2011


The latest Consumer Confidence survey by the British Retail Consortium has announced that the proportion of British shoppers who feel they have no spare cash has reached a new all time high- at just 32 per cent.

The survey showed that consumers' biggest concerns for the next six months continue to be things that affect their personal finances and household budgets. ‘Increasing utility bills' is the number one concern, followed closely by ‘the economy', and ‘increasing fuel prices'. In response to rising costs, 71 per cent of people say they have changed their shopping habits to try to save on household expenses, with 65 per cent of those switching to cheaper grocery brands. Including and especially toilet paper*

Britain's second quarter consumer confidence index improved as more people felt a little better about their job prospects and personal finances, unless you work for Bitterwallet, but it remains down on all of last year. Nineteen per cent of consumers are now optimistic about their job prospects for the coming year but 73 per cent remain pessimistic. And, while 35 per cent of people are now optimistic about the state of their personal finances, some 60 per cent of Brits remain gloomy about theirs.

British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "The squeeze on disposable incomes is getting tighter. A third of people said they have no spare cash – a new record high. Weakness in the economy and rising utility, fuel and food bills top consumers' concerns for the next 6 months.”

"With finances under pressure, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy with 65 per cent saying they are switching to cheaper grocery brands – often own-brand labels – to stay within their budgets. Competition within the sector is helping to take the edge off price inflation with a larger number of promotions and discounts on offer.”

But what about the surprising, given all the doom and gloom, 68% of people who do have cash to splash after all the bills have been paid? “Even after paying out for essentials, households that do have spare cash are choosing to pay off debts and build-up savings rather than spend on the high street,” he added.

Kickstarting consumer spending is vital to the economy, which is why a VAT rate drop is Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’ preferred strategy. Yesterday’s Sunday Times also predicted that there was a 30% chance that interest rates, which have been at a record low of 0.5% since will fall to 0.25% by February 2012.

So are you one of the haves (spare cash) or have nots? And what would make you spend more?

*I made that last bit up.


  • Marky M.
    Duh! Lower prices would make me spend more. Let's take butter as an example. Last year it shot up from an average of 70p for 250gms to £1.10. So I stopped buying it. I figured it was a temporary blip, and it would start coming down if everybody went onto the enticingly-monikered "yellow fats" instead. But not a bit of it! Even Morrisons Value butter, about as shit as you can get, is now £1.21. Madness! But it's the yellow fat manufacturers who have been cashing in. Their products have nothing whatsoever to do with dairy products, but by keeping their price differential just below that of butter they know people will buy it so it's UNEARNED profiteering, pure and simple. One gets away with it, the others follow. No wonder the rioting has spread (Butter/spread -- do you see what I did there?)
  • Dick
    Spare cash means different things to different people. I don't consider I have much spare cash, simply because I've worked out roughly what my spend will be, and the rest of my income is then diverted (mainly) to investments or banked. I can of course dip into savings at any time, but if it is not in my pocket, then it is not spare cash. To me, "cash" is what I have in my pocket to spend on luxuries, such as quilted toilet paper, quince jelly, them little black rubber things, you know them little black rubber things that go "nee nee nee nee", yeah, a big box full of them, and hookers.
  • Grumpy
    WTF Is dis real?

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