Consumers and the Economic Outlook - UK - September 2019
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Consumer sentiment around the impact that Brexit will have on both the UK economy and their own financial situation spiked in May 2019 following the delay to the planned Brexit date at the end of March.
In July, sentiment fell back slightly but remains significantly higher than at any other point since February 2017
The cost of living remains the factor considered most likely to be impacted negatively by Brexit (48%), while consumers are marginally more likely to see Brexit being positive (23%) than negative (20%) for their career.
Opinion has become more polarised. There has been a drift away from responses suggesting Brexit will be neither positive nor negative and towards more extreme positions.
“It is a confusing time for the British public. The new Government has been unable to agree a Brexit deal with the EU and Parliament has passed legislation obliging the Prime Minister to request a further extension if he cannot get one. Despite this, Boris Johnson has maintained his stance that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, with a deal or without one.
The coverage of Brexit is another source of uncertainty. Depending on the newspaper they read, consumers can take Brexit to mean many different things. Even official statements about the anticipated effects are starting to fall on deaf ears as people have become weary after years of Brexit dominating national politics and the news cycle.
And yet, despite all this uncertainty, the things that affect people on a daily basis are fairly stable. Unemployment remains at a decades-long low and wages are rising above inflation. In general, those who want a job have got one and are seeing their spending power increase. As a result, Mintel’s consumer sentiment trackers are all at or around record highs.
With the new Brexit Day and a likely general election around the corner, however, it will be interesting to see how much longer consumer confidence can overcome the wider uncertainty.”
– Rich Shepherd, Associate Director – Financial Services
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