A fifth of UK shoppers worry Brexit could impact their spending habits

Published at 10:45 AM on 23 February 2017

Over 20% of UK consumers are concerned about the impact of Brexit on their spending plans over the next 12 months, while almost six in 10 worry about their lack of disposable income, according to PwC’s new Total Retail report.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK shoppers reveals that brand loyalty is a priority with almost two-thirds (65%) stating that they are a loyal shopper who knows which brands and products they buy most often. Price is still the most important factor for determining customer loyalty - 59% of respondents say they return to a retailer because prices are good. Other important reasons are trust in the brand (43%), and items being in stock (37%).  Almost six in 10 UK consumers only shop with companies they trust to minimise online security risks.

Madeleine Thomson, retail and consumer leader, PwC, said:

“2017 will be a crucial year for retailers; a combination of price inflation on goods and groceries will mean that brand loyalty will play a more significant role than ever.

“However, with prices on the up and less disposable income available to the average UK consumer as a result, retailers will need to be versatile in order to keep their customers from looking for cheaper options elsewhere. The customer experience is key.”

Other consumer habits highlighted by the report show that almost half (48%) of UK shoppers buy online because they find it more convenient than visiting a shop although they do worry about fake goods when doing so. 27% are concerned that luxury cosmetics and fragrances purchases may not be genuine, a quarter feel the same over jewellery and watches, while 23% worry about clothing, shoes or leather goods.

Madeleine Thomson adds:

“The way retailers are evolving is fascinating with a bigger focus on online platforms and making products more accessible to customers. People have more choice than ever now in terms of ordering goods and the products available to them. Making the process as easy as possible, and via as many channels as possible is one way to stay ahead of the curve.”

The report also finds that one in five consumers would buy British if the product is equal in price, product specification and quality to an imported good, while almost the same number (22%) argue retailers’ mobile websites are an obstacle to making purchases. But almost a fifth (17%) now use their smartphones to buy online weekly in the UK, a 5% increase from last year.

Madeleine Thomson concludes:

“The rise of digital, our reliance on Amazon – 91% of UK shoppers use the site - and increases in wearable and mobile shopping are also highlighted in this year’s survey. However, something else that is equally important is the value that UK shoppers continue to place on in-store experience, with the number one in-store attribute being shop staff with a deep knowledge of their product range.

“As we look ahead, the ‘Total Retail’ experience looks to be defined as simple and streamlined; one that maintains a human touch, blending the best of technological advances with helpful and expert staff both in-store and online.”


Notes to Editor:

About Total Retail:

PwC’s Total Retail report was conducted in December 2016, with shoppers across 29 territories responding to survey questions focusing on retail experiences and tendencies. In total 24,471 participants answered took part in the survey, with 1,003 of those based in the UK.

For more details and to download the report, see: http://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/retail-consumer/insights/total-retail.html


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