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Consumers and the Economic Outlook: Quarterly Update - UK - December 2015

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Published Date : Dec 2015

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Mintel's key measures of consumer confidence show that people are still wary. Although the improvements in sentiment that accompanied the end of the income squeeze have been sustained, 2015 has been a year of consolidation, rather than one of soaring consumer spirits. Earlier in the year, the election added considerable uncertainty. Post-election, the promise of more austerity and the continued squeeze on the public sector will have contributed to a degree of caution among mainstream consumers.

However, there is still good news out there for marketers. In particular, higher earners continue to prosper, and appear to be pulling even further away from their less well-paid counterparts. Even more promisingly, this is accompanied by a growing willingness to spend on luxuries. From foodservice to travel, it's going to be people at the upper end of the income scale who will drive spend in 2016."

Table of Content

Key Findings

2015: a year of consolidation
Is it time to move away from “craft”?
Higher-income consumers will lead the way
Key economic indicators
Figure 1: Key Economic Indicators, December 2015

Current Financial Situation

Post-election consolidation
Figure 2: “How would you generally describe your financial situation at the moment?”, November 2015
Figure 3: The wellbeing index, February 2009 - November 2015
The income divide is still stark
Figure 4: Financial situation, by household income, November 2015

Changes in Financial Wellbeing

Increases in disposable income are reflected in consumer sentiment
Figure 5: “How would you describe your finances compared to a year ago?”, November 2015
Time to give up on the beards and craft coffee?
Figure 6: The recovery index, July 2011 – November 2015
41% of higher income earners say they’re better-off
Figure 7: Change in financial situation, by household income, November 2015

Financial Confidence

Many are shrugging off macro-economic concerns
Figure 8: “And how do you feel about your financial situation over the next year or so?”, November 2015
Figure 9: The financial confidence index, January 2009 – November 2015
£25,000 a year: the dividing line between confidence and concern
Figure 10: Financial confidence, by household income, November 2015

Spending Plans

Festive plans: look good, eat well
Home improvements stutter
Figure 11: “Thinking about how you spend your money, which of the following have you done over the last three months? And which do you plan to do over the next three months?”, November 2015
Figure 12: The financial activity index, June 2012 – November 2015
Higher earners set to boost Christmas spending…
Figure 13: Financial activity, by household income, November 2015
and are responding to the recovery
Figure 14: Financial activity - plan to do in the next three months, by household income, November 2015

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