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UK Consumers and the Economic Outlook: Quarterly market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Consumers and the Economic Outlook - Quarterly Update market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

What you need to know

  • Our measure of how people feel about their finances compared to a year ago fell sharply in September.
  • This was short-lived, however, and people reported a similar level of sentiment in October to the one seen throughout much of 2018.
  • Consumers remain split into three fairly stable groups. 50% say their finances are about the same as last year, 26% feel better off, and 24% feel worse off.
  • The August base rate rise has had little impact. It may have been a factor in the drop in sentiment in September, but the instant recovery a month later suggests any effect was due to perception, not a real hit on budgets.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Rich Shepherd, a leading analyst in the Financial Services sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Financial well-being and confidence was lower in each of the three months to October than we reported throughout the summer months. This matches the stagnant economic performance in August and September. Overall though, most consumers are still getting by, and remain relatively optimistic about their financial future. Rich Shepherd
Senior Financial Services Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Key Findings

      • Stalled growth hints at difficult times ahead…
        • …but consumers aren’t worrying yet
          • Key economic indicators
            • Figure 1: Key economic indicators, November 2018
        • Current Financial Situation

          • What you need to know
            • A sustained drop in well-being…
              • Figure 2: The financial well-being index, January 2015-October 2018
            • …but it’s not the time for panic
              • Figure 3: “How would you generally describe your financial situation at the moment?”, October 2018
            • The August base rate rise has had a muted effect
              • Figure 4: Current financial situation, by housing situation, October 2018
          • Changes in Financial Situation

            • What you need to know
              • Most people are better off or in a similar position as last year
                • Figure 5: “How does your own financial situation compare to how it was a year or so ago?”, October 2018
              • A blip in September
                • Figure 6: Changes in household finances, January 2015-October 2018
              • Only those much worse off are facing real trouble
                • Figure 7: Current financial situation, by change in financial situation over the past year, October 2018
            • Financial Confidence

              • What you need to know
                • Confidence has dipped since July
                  • Figure 8: The financial confidence index, January 2015-October 2018
                • …but the outlook remains positive
                  • Figure 9: “And how do you feel about your financial situation over the next year?”, October 2018
                • It doesn’t take a great amount to provide reassurance
                  • Figure 10: Financial confidence for the coming year, by value of savings and investments, excluding pensions, October 2018
                • Younger men and over-55s show greater confidence
                  • Figure 11: Financial confidence for the coming year, by age and gender, October 2018
              • Planned Financial and Spending Activity

                • What you need to know
                  • A seasonal drop in spending
                    • Figure 12: The financial activity index, January 2015-October 2018
                  • Saving activity is strong
                    • Figure 13: “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?”, October 2018
                  • Different opportunities, different priorities
                    • Figure 14: Financial activity in the past three months, by current financial situation, October 2018