By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
According to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker, falling inflation and rising employment through 2012 brought some relief to UK consumers as sentiment about disposable income rose by 6 points in the last year, from -39% in the last three months of 2011 to -33% in the same period last year.
This trend is evident across several key discretionary categories. Between October and December, consumers were less likely to have cut back their spending on going out to the cinema, theatre or concerts (-17% vs. -26%), clothing (-7% vs. -21%) and major household appliances (-7% vs. -11%) compared with the corresponding period in 2011. Indeed, this quarter’s discretionary spending figures in these categories are the most positive since Deloitte started monitoring these trends eighteen months ago.
The Deloitte Consumer Tracker also reveals that consumers were more discerning this Christmas with a positive net proportion buying items on sale before Christmas (19%) compared to 2011. However, there was some good news for retailers, as 23% of consumers spent more buying gifts online this Christmas, a sign the sector has reached a digital tipping point.
Ben Perkins, head of consumer business research at Deloitte, comments: “Price and convenience continue to be key drivers for consumers when deciding where to spend. With consumers spending more money online, shopping using smartphones and tablets will continue to increase, making those digital devices important sources of revenue for retailers.”