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UK shoppers feel worse off following Budget

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The recession may be over – but more than half of the UK population expect to be worse off in the wake of the Emergency Budget.

In all, 54% of shoppers say they will cut back as a result, according to Shoppercentric, an independent agency specializing in analysis of the way consumers behave.

In research published today, the latest in a series of Shopping in the Recession reports, Shoppercentric says that 31% of consumers say they have made major changes to their spending – up from 24% in January 2009. Some 75% now say they have made at least some changes.

Some 12% say their salaries have been hit by pay cuts, freezes or a drop in hours.

Of those whose finances have been hit hardest, 51% said they would cut spending on clothes and shoes, while 49% said going out and eating out would be hit. Some 40% said holidays would be affected, while 33% said they would be paring back on their household and grocery shopping budgets.

Most (87%) said they would be taking a prudent approach to their budgets, with an approach of avoiding waste, cooking from scratch and only buying what’s necessary. Economising was favoured by 82%, while 76% said they would change stores.

Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric, said: “It’s still a very challenging time for a lot of people – despite reports of green shoots on the horizon! Difficulties in managing budgets don’t just disappear overnight, many people will have gone into debt to just keep afloat. It’s a case of looking at how and where they can make savings and work towards recovery.”

She added: “The continuation of prudence by the shopper presents retailers and manufacturers with new challenges and promotions opportunities on ingredient items amongst others – to fire up shopper enthusiasm for cooking from scratch.”

The research quizzed 1,000 shoppers from an online panel of adults aged 18 to 64 who were the main grocery shopper for their household.

Our view: This report might not be a direct reflection of online shopping – but it certainly seems to have something of interest to tell internet retailers. Spending is likely to fall, it seems, despite the end of the recession, and online merchants will have to work hard to make sure that when spending does happen it’s with them. The good news is that other figures out today from IMRG seems to suggest that is certainly happening at the moment.

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