34% of Brits feel financially better off despite Brexit fears

// 34% of Brits think they are financially better off than 5 years ago, according to Nielsen study
// This is below European average of 37%
// However, UK consumers were more optimistic than French, Belgian and Italian consumers

British consumers are displaying a sense of optimism about their financial health, with more than a third saying they are financially better off today than five years ago.

According to a survey from research firm Nielsen, 34 per of Brits feel their financial wellbeing is good despite ongoing fears around the economy in the lead-up to Brexit.

The study, which looks at consumers’ sentiment toward their financial position, willingness to spend and how that’s changed over time, reveals that British consumers are also more optimistic about their finances than several of their European counterparts.

European countries that scored lower than the UK on consumer financial wellbeing included France, at 27 per cent, Belgium at 28 per cent and Italy at 17 per cent.

Ireland scored higher for financial wellbeing than the Europe average of 37 per cent, with 44 per cent of Irish consumers feeling better off than five years ago.

Despite the improvement in UK consumers’ sentiments around their finances, many are feeling the pressure of rising living costs, with only 16 per cent of UK consumers feeling they can spend freely.

This appears to be impacting British consumers’ spending habits – as they are increasing spending in “essential” categories – with 36 per cent of consumers spending more on groceries, compared with five years ago.

There is also a decrease in consumer spending on other more discretionary activities, such as dining out (31 per cent), entertainment and leisure activities (30 per cent) and travel (29 per cent).

Conversely, Ireland scored lower than the UK in terms of consumers feeling they can spend freely (nine per cent), and most Irish consumers are spending the same on groceries (40 per cent).

“It’s promising to see that, despite Brexit uncertainty, many UK consumers, in comparison to other European countries, are feeling more positive about their financial wellbeing than they did several years ago,” Nielsen UK head of insight Mike Watkins said.

“However, with grocery spending up, and a decrease in travel and dining out expenditure, it’s evident that British consumers are becoming more aware and careful of how they choose to spend their money.

“Clearly, although UK consumers are feeling more comfortable in their financial situation, Brexit uncertainties may still be causing shoppers to be more cautious in their spending, therefore opting for cheaper alternatives instead of spending freely on luxuries like dining out.”

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