British Lifestyles 2014: The British Dream - UK - April 2014
“Post-recession consumers will shift some of their focus away from their finances to taking care of their physical health and nurturing personal relationships. As recession fatigue sets in, sectors that saw mixed fortunes during the downturn, especially leisure, entertainment and holidays, will see higher demand from consumers eager to give themselves time out.”
– Ina Mitskavets, Senior Consumer and Lifestyles Analyst
In 2014 the recovery in the economy is gathering force. In March 2014 official forecasts for UK economic growth have been raised for the next two years. However the wider economic improvement has yet to trickle down to the household level – for the average Briton, wages are still playing catch-up with the rising prices of goods and services. As consumer spending remains the key driver of growth, 2014 could be a pivotal year for several markets that suffered during the downturn. With Britain currently at a crossroads, consumers are feeling cautiously optimistic about their prospects for the near future.
With increased disposable incomes the pent-up demand for leisure activities and holidays will be released. Now that the economic uncertainty appears to be waning, some of the money stashed away during the recession could be spent on things that people might have denied themselves when times were tough. There has been an increased level of optimism in the housing market in 2013 and early 2014, as the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ initiative led to many first-time buyers securing a mortgage, which also signals positive news for the home and garden markets.
After focussing on issues related to finances, Brits have emerged on the other side of the downturn with a somewhat different set of priorities. The year of 2014 will be the year when people start prioritising their physical and emotional wellbeing, which spans taking care of their nutrition, doing more exercise and nurturing close relationships. Less than a quarter of Britons think their standard of living is worse than that of their parents when they were their age. This is perhaps a sign that most people found ways of coping in the tough economy, but how soon the full-scale optimism returns will depend on the growth of household incomes in 2014.
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