UK Consumers and the Economic Outlook – Spring 2022
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“Even before the conflict in Ukraine, inflation had become the biggest concern for consumers, brands and the British economy for 2022. Households are set to endure the biggest squeeze on…

UK Consumers and the Economic Outlook – Spring 2022

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The UK Consumers and the Economic Outlook Q1 report identifies consumer attitudes towards the impact of inflation on consumer behaviour, financial wellbeing, and consumer financial spending in the UK. This market report covers the market size, market forecast, market segmentation and industry trends for the Consumers and the Economic Outlook Q1 market in the UK.

Current Market Landscape

Concerns over rising prices are having a clear effect on consumer sentiment. Consumers’ assessments of their current financial situation and confidence for the year ahead both fell sharply from the turn of the year, wiping out months of improvements on these measures.

  • The retail value sales of breakfast cereals increased by 8% in 2020.
  • Value sales are estimated to slip back by 5% to £1.63 billion during 2021.
  • 50% of consumers eat cereals more often, challenging traditional sweet treats as a snack choice.

Household finances largely defied the threats posed by COVID-19 for most of the first two years of the pandemic. However, even as the impact of the pandemic is fading, inflation is set to have a destructive effect on individuals’ spending power.

The Future Economic Outlook

Forecasters were already revising down expectations for growth in 2022 before the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Since then, it has driven further pessimism.

Since October, inflation has continued to rise. It is now undoubtedly the major consideration for consumers and brands alike over the coming year and it has had a clear impact on financial wellbeing. The index fell sharply in January and February, wiping out the gains seen during the pandemic and returning to a level last seen in April 2020.

Despite the fall in overall sentiment, most households continue to be in a relatively comfortable position. Indeed, the index was still higher in February 2022 than at any point before February 2019 and three quarters describe their finances as at least OK.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Financial Services market research

Quickly understand

  • Key Findings.
  • Current Financial Situation.
  • Changes in Financial Situation.
  • Financial Confidence.
  • Planned Financial and Spending Activity.
  • Consumers’ Response to the EU Referendum Result.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Rich Shepherd, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Even before the conflict in Ukraine, inflation had become the biggest concern for consumers, brands and the British economy for 2022. Households are set to endure the biggest squeeze on real incomes in decades, and the conflict in Ukraine will only add to existing inflationary pressures. This is seen in consumer assessments of their own situation, with current wellbeing and financial confidence both falling since the turn of the year and consumers more likely to feel worse off than better off compared to a year ago. Despite this, most people are getting by and expect to continue to do so, but it is clear that brands will have to work harder to get hold of consumers’ cash in the coming months.

Rich Shepherd
Category Director – B2B, Social and Economic Research

Table of Contents

  1. Key Findings

    • Inflation is putting a squeeze on real incomes
      • Figure 1: Annual changes in CPI, average regular wages and average real wages (adjusted for CPI), 2007-22
    • Consumer sentiment has deteriorated on all measures
    • The conflict in Ukraine will create further pressures
    • Key economic indicators
      • Figure 2: Key economic indicators, 2022
  2. Current Financial Situation

    • What you need to know
    • Concerns over inflation have erased two years of growth in wellbeing…
      • Figure 3: The financial wellbeing index, 2016-22
    • …but most are getting by
      • Figure 4: “How would you generally describe your financial situation at the moment?”, 2022
    • Price rises are being felt in household budgets
      • Figure 5: Issues consumers have faced in the last two months, 2021-22
    • Two thirds expect the conflict in Ukraine to impact their finances
      • Figure 6: Expected impact of the conflict in Ukraine on household finances, 2022
  3. Changes in Financial Situation

    • What you need to know
    • Sentiment has been on a downward trend since October
      • Figure 7: Changes in household finances, 2016-22
    • Consumers more likely to feel worse off than better off in February
      • Figure 8: “How does your own financial situation compare to how it was a year or so ago?”, 2021
    • Reduced commuting costs continuing to pay off for remote workers
      • Figure 9: Changes in household finances, by work location, 2022
  4. Financial Confidence

    • What you need to know
    • Confidence has fallen sharply as inflation has risen
      • Figure 10: The financial confidence index, 2016-22
    • Most should be fine but a fifth have serious concerns
      • Figure 11: “And how do you feel about your financial situation over the next year or so?”, 2022
    • Three quarters are worried about price rises
      • Figure 12: Concerns over factors affecting household finances, 2022
    • Financial concerns around the conflict in Ukraine centre on energy costs
      • Figure 13: How consumers expect to the conflict in Ukraine to impact goods and services, 2022
  5. Planned Financial and Spending Activity

    • What you need to know
    • Financial activity dampened in early-2022 as Omicron and inflation hit
      • Figure 14: The financial activity index, 2016-22
    • Intent to save reflects a more cautious consumer outlook
      • Figure 15: “Which of the following have you done over the last 3 months? And which do you plan to do over the next 3 months?”, 2022
    • Leisure, hospitality and fashion will be the first to lose out to budget cuts
      • Figure 16: How consumers expect to respond to a household budget squeeze, 2022
  6. Consumers’ Response to the EU Referendum Result

    • What you need to know
    • Brexit is far from many consumers’ minds…
      • Figure 17: Level of concern over the impact of the EU referendum, 2016-22
    • …but is expected to worsen inflationary pressures
      • Figure 18: Consumer views on the impact of the EU referendum, 2022

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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Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

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