// Autumn consumer sentiment level is at its lowest since 2014, PwC warns
// 28% of consumers think their disposable income will fall in the next year
// Only 21% think they will have more to spend in the next year, compared to the 29% recorded in April
Consumer confidence for autumn has dipped to the lowest levels since 2014, as Brits prepare to to tighten their belts ahead of the critical Christmas trading period, new research suggests.
According to a PwC survey, 28 per cent of consumers think their disposable income will fall and 21 per cent think they will have more to spend over the next year.
This is an eight percentage point decline in sentiment since the same survey for PwC in April.
PwC warned that this means the autumn consumer sentiment level is at its lowest since 2014, and could see retailers and leisure operators affected by shoppers cutting their spending in the crucial trading period leading up to Christmas.
- Worst September retail sales on record
- High streets suffer worst September since 2011
- September consumer confidence grows ahead of Brexit deadline
Optimism among consumers varies significantly by age, with 55 to 64-year-olds recording a slight uptick in sentiment despite remaining the most pessimistic overall.
Those aged 25 and under registered the sharpest fall in optimism at 25 percentage points compared with April, although they still remain the most positive age bracket overall.
Meanwhile, 40 per cent Britons say that Brexit will affect their spending in the next 12 months, compared to 32 per cent when the same question was asked in April.
Of the two in five who said their spending would change, 42 per cent said they would buy fewer things, 31 per cent said they would postpone big ticket purchases and 29 per cent said they would go out less.
“Despite the political upheavals affecting the country, consumer sentiment has remained remarkably resilient over the past five years,” PwC consumer markets leader Lisa Hooker said.
“While our survey shows a decline since we last measured sentiment in April, British consumers are still more positive about their personal prospects than immediately after the EU referendum, and significantly more positive than during the last recession and recovery period.
“However, where there has been a drop-off in consumer confidence, it is largely concentrated amongst younger people, with a staggering 25-point decline amongst under 25-year-olds, at a time of year when we have historically seen a bounce in sentiment in this age group.
“With autumn sentiment at a five-year low, retailers and operators in the leisure sector may face a challenging run-up to the critical festive season, especially for those brands targeting younger consumers.”
PwC surveyed 2000 British consumers in September.