Consumers to change retail spending habits during 2019

Study reveals top 10 retail items that shoppers will cut back on, as rising living costs hit wallets.

Consumers are planning to spend less on new clothes, sweet treats and premium toiletries this year, according to the latest research from Paymentsense. The study* reveals that over half (56%) of UK consumers are planning or considering cutting their spending over the coming year. Survey respondents expect to save an average of £131 a month, or £1572 over 2019.

Many UK shoppers plan to achieve these household cost savings by cutting back on popular products like new clothes (31%), sweets, crisps, cake and chocolate (27%), and switching to less expensive toiletries (18%). This was closely followed by spending less on jewellery and holidays which require a flight (both 17%).

The most popular reason for this planned spending cut is to keep up with rising living costs – true for almost half (42%) of respondents. This comes soon after train fares saw a 3.1% price increase and MPs have called for a watchdog on petrol prices to stop motorists being unfairly overcharged.

Millennials are more serious about saving than older generations. According to the research, almost 80% of 25-34 year olds are planning or considering cutting back their spending in 2019, compared to just 40% of those aged over 65.

London is reported to be the most saving-savvy region (62%) followed by the South East (47%) and the North East (47%). Wales has the smallest proportion (32%) of people planning to cut back on their spending.

Guy Moreve, CMO of Paymentsense, said “Although it is common for people to make positive plans in the new year, our study reveals that instead of aspirational health or lifestyle goals many UK consumers are increasingly concerned about just keeping up as living costs climb more quickly than salaries. Many of the 70,000 small businesses we work with across the UK understand that shoppers are struggling to balance their monthly budgets at this time of year, and have been adapting with special offers, loyalty schemes and more advanced point of sale techniques.     

“Another growing trend is ethical consumption, and over 2018 we saw increased awareness and attention to environmentally friendly lifestyle habits such as veganism and sustainable fashion. We feel that this coming year will see continued movement in this area, as more people adopt ethical attitudes. Small retailers should see this as an opportunity to review different aspects of their offering, and their suppliers, to look at what can be improved to tap into this growing consumer sensitivity.”

Top 10 retail items that consumers plan to cut spending on in 2019:

1. New clothes – 31%

2. Sweets, crisps, cakes, chocolate – 27%

3. Premium toiletries – 18%

4. Jewellery – 17%

5. Holidays which require a flight – 17%

6. Meat – 16%

7. New furniture – 14%

8. High-end health food – 13%

9. Video games – 12%

10. Premium bread or baked goods – 12%

*Study of 1,002 UK consumers. Research took place in December 2018. 

Further reading: 2019 advice for small business owners

As Europe’s largest merchant services provider, Paymentsense enables over 70,000 SMEs to process over £6 billion worth of card payments per year. From card readers to semi-integrated solutions and payment gateways, Paymentsense supplies small businesses with low-cost card processing solutions that allow them to take payments in storeonlineover the phone and on the move.