Over half of UK consumers expect the economy to weaken in the next six months after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that GDP contracted in the final quarter of last year, research released today reveals.
According to analyst firm Conlumino, which surveyed 2,000 respondents over the weekend following Friday’s news, 53.6 per cent if consumers anticipate further economic woes, up from 46.9 per cent a month earlier.
As a result, 62 per cent of shoppers are now planning to reduce retail spend in the next half year, the highest number since April 2012, the firm warned.
Conlumino’s Managing Director Neil Saunders said: “As far as consumers are concerned, it’s a pretty gloomy start to 2013.
“Consumers are extremely uncertain about the future of the economy and most currently can’t see much good news on the horizon.
“Six out of ten consumers say they will look to trim spending but the truth is that most households have seen a their own personal finances remain static or improve very slightly over the past few months.
“In other words, there are some people cutting back as a precautionary measure rather than through necessity.
“This demonstrates the importance of creating a culture of confidence to drive spending growth.”
Saunders also pointed out that recent high-profile administrations, such as that of entertainment retailer HMV, have highlighted the fragility of the high street and of certain sub-sectors.
When asked where they were likely to make cuts, 39 per cent of respondents said entertainment products would be the first cut back while 34 per cent mentioned electricals and the same number mentioned furniture.
Saunders warned: “After some indulgence in entertainment products over Christmas, there is a feeling among consumers that they can probably sacrifice spending in this area over the next few months.”