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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 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

In December 2018, consumers’ sentiment towards the impact of Brexit on a range of economic factors fell to the lowest levels since Mintel started to track this measure in July 2016. Sentiment fell sharply between August and November, and again in December following the release of the agreed Brexit withdrawal agreement and subsequent political turmoil. In line with previous findings, the cost of living remains consumers’ biggest concern, while worries about the housing market have grown in recent months.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Richard 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.

Concern over the impact of Brexit is more severe than at any other time since Mintel stated tracking this measure, including the initial shock in the immediate aftermath of the vote. Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement was the first glimpse of anything resembling certainty since Article 50 was triggered in March 2017. That it was so resoundingly rejected by Parliament has left the country in another state of confusion, and consumers are worried about what will happen Richard Shepherd
Senior Financial Services Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Key Findings

      • Brexit is causing record levels of concern...
        • …but household finances are holding up well
          • Key economic indicators
            • Figure 1: Key economic indicators, February 2019
        • Consumers’ Response to the EU Referendum Result

          • What you need to know
            • The greatest level of concern over Brexit since the referendum
                • Figure 2: Level of concern over the impact of the EU referendum, July 2016-December 2018
              • Housing worries have grown in recent months…
                  • Figure 3: Consumer views on the impact of the EU referendum on the UK economy, December 2018
                • …and concerns are growing about the effect on personal finances
                  • Significant gender differences
                      • Figure 4: Consumer views on the impact of the EU referendum on the UK economy, by gender, December 2018
                  • Current Financial Situation

                    • What you need to know
                      • Household finances are resilient…
                        • Figure 5: “How would you generally describe your financial situation at the moment?”, December 2018
                      • …and sentiment is on the up
                        • Figure 6: The financial well-being index, January 2015-December 2018
                      • Positive economic indicators behind the rise in sentiment
                        • Figure 7: Annual percentage change in average weekly total pay (3 months average) and CPIH, January 2015-November 2018
                      • The grey pound remains essential
                        • Figure 8: Current household financial situation, by age, December 2018
                    • Changes in Financial Situation

                      • What you need to know
                        • Finances are more likely to have declined than improved in the last year
                          • Figure 9: “How would you describe your finances compared to a year ago?”, December 2018
                        • A downward trend in sentiment
                          • Figure 10: Changes in household finances, January 2015-December 2018
                        • Improving fortunes give a rosier view of Brexit
                          • Figure 11: Positive responses to the impact of the EU referendum on the UK economy, by changes in household finances, December 2018
                      • Financial Confidence

                        • What you need to know
                          • Most are looking forward with confidence…
                            • Figure 12: “And how do you feel about your financial situation over the next year?”, December 2018
                          • …but sentiment is down since last summer
                            • Figure 13: The financial confidence index, January 2015-December 2018
                          • Millennials and Gen Xers are the least confident
                            • Figure 14: Financial confidence, by generation, December 2018
                          • Self-employed workers show impressive optimism
                            • Figure 15: Financial confidence, by employment type, December 2018
                        • Planned Financial and Spending Activity

                          • What you need to know
                            • Planned activity spiked in November
                              • Figure 16: The financial activity index, January 2015-December 2018
                            • Saving was down in the three months to December
                              • Figure 17: 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?”, December 2018
                            • Some evidence of Brexit changing behaviours
                              • Figure 18: Planned financial activity in the next three months, by responses to the impact of the EU referendum on the UK economy, December 2018