UK Consumers and the Economic Outlook – Autumn 2021
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“Rising inflation and concerns about stock shortages have shaken consumers’ sense of financial wellbeing and confidence for the coming year. It is important to place the falls seen on these…

UK Consumers and the Economic Outlook – Autumn 2021

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“Rising inflation and concerns about stock shortages have shaken consumers’ sense of financial wellbeing and confidence for the coming year. It is important to place the falls seen on these measures in October in context, however: the vast majority of consumers remain fairly upbeat.

Despite this, Mintel’s latest research suggests that consumer mindsets are shifting, and that we are moving into a new phase of the recovery from COVID-19. In this new phase, consumers are facing new challenges arising not just directly from the pandemic but also from consequences of the responses to and recovery from it, and from wider factors unrelated to COVID-19.”

– Rich Shepherd, Category Director – B2B, Social and Economic Research

Table of Contents

  1. Key Findings

    • New OBR forecasts show greater optimism than previous predictions…
    • … but rising inflation poses a threat to the recovery…
      • Figure 1: CPIH and CPI, 12-month rates, 2001-21
    • … and household finances
    • Key economic indicators
      • Figure 2: Key economic indicators, November 2021
  2. Current Financial Situation

    • What you need to know
    • The first major fall in wellbeing for two years…
      • Figure 3: The financial wellbeing index, 2016-21
    • … but most are still getting by just fine
      • Figure 4: “How would you generally describe your financial situation at the moment?”, 2021
    • The work from home dividend
      • Figure 5: Current financial situation, by employment location, 2021
    • Consumers are seeing the effects of inflation now
      • Figure 6: Household and lifestyle issues faced in the last two months, 2021
  3. Changes in Financial Situation

    • What you need to know
    • Consumer finances have seen off the effects of COVID-19
      • Figure 7: Changes in household finances, 2016-21
    • Three quarters feel better off or about the same as last year
      • Figure 8: “How does your own financial situation compare to how it was a year or so ago?”, 2021
    • Age, income, housing and work location all influence how finances have changed
      • Figure 9: Changes in household situation, by demographics, 2021
  4. Financial Confidence

    • What you need to know
    • Confidence was significantly weakened in October
      • Figure 10: The financial confidence index, 2016-21
    • An 8 percentage point fall in top confidence
      • Figure 11: “And how do you feel about your financial situation over the next year or so?”, 2021
    • Prices are already causing real concern
      • Figure 12: Concerns over factors affecting household finances, 2021
  5. Planned Financial and Spending Activity

    • What you need to know
    • A more stable autumn for financial activity
      • Figure 13: The financial activity index, 2016-21
    • Consumers are gradually returning to entertainment venues
      • Figure 14: “Which of the following have you done over the last 3 months? And which do you plan to do over the next 3 months?”, 2021
  6. Consumers’ Response to the EU Referendum Result

    • What you need to know
    • Rising inflation worries have eroded summer positivity
      • Figure 15: Level of concern over the impact of the EU referendum, 2016-21
    • Consumers are closely aligning Brexit with inflation concerns
      • Figure 16: Consumer views on the impact of the EU referendum, 2021
    • Income inequality is expected to widen
      • Figure 17: Consumer views on the impact of the EU referendum on household incomes, by gross annual household income, 2021

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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