As the nation braces itself for another year of cuts, new research from Mintel reveals budget Britain is in full swing with nine in ten (89%) Brits now on a budget. For many, budgeting has become a part of daily life and it seems Britain’s affluent are feeling the pinch too.
Mintel's research finds nearly half (44%) of all Brits are budgeting more than they were this time last year. Today, as many as nearly nine in ten (89%) Brits shop on a budget, and a further 9% don’t budget but are keeping a track of what they spend. Indeed, proving the impact of post recession Britain, just 2% of Brits admit to not having a budget or tracking their spend.
Families are the group most likely to budget, with nearly half (48%) of parents reporting they had a stricter budget over the past year. Meanwhile, it seems Britain’s women are the savviest shoppers - nearly one in two (49%) reporting an increase in budgeting over the past year compared to less than four in ten (39%) men.
Ina Mitskavets, Senior Consumer and Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel said:
“The downturn over the last few years has changed spending and budgeting habits in the UK. We have gone from a nation of borrowers and over-spenders to a nation of savers and savvy shoppers. The constant reminders of the dire state of the UK economy, together with what we have seen happen in Europe over the last few years, means that budgeting, saving and discounts have become words ingrained in the consumer psyche.”
Mintel’s research also shows how consumers on high incomes (those earning £50,000 and above) are likely to jump on the “budget bandwagon” - with some 90% of high earners claiming that they budget. Today’s high earners are particularly savvy with their shopping activities - leading the way in using discounts and special offers when shopping. Indeed, while 70% of all consumers use in store discounts such as buy-one-get-one-free, this rises to 73% of high earners. Rewards and loyalty cards are used by an average of 66% of Brits, again this rises to 75% of high earners. Finally, percentage off total purchase is used by an average of 52% of Brits compared to some 59% of high earners.
“Even the more well-to-do shoppers show more reserve with their finances in uncertain economic times. Budgeting is becoming an ingrained habit, as people are reluctant to flash the cash and appear to be taking pride in being more financially conservative than in the past. Rising costs of childcare, coupled with austerity measures such as the slashing of child tax credits and the loss of child benefit for middle and high income earners, mean that the squeeze is only set to get tighter for families.” Ina continues.
Budget ranges have been the success story of the recession, some 30% of consumers buy budget ranges compared to just one in five (20%) back in 2008. In addition, only 14% of consumers claim that they would hide the fact that they buy value products, indicating a shift in perception, whilst over half (53%) agree low price is more important than brand name and nearly seven in ten (68%) are proud to tell their friends about any good bargains they find.
“No longer is budgeting something to be ashamed of; in fact, finding a bargain or getting a great deal is something to be celebrated, even shouted about.” Ina adds.
Some seven in ten (70%) adults have used discounts, such as buy-one-get-one-free or 2-for-1 in the last six months. Meanwhile, rewards or loyalty schemes are favoured by two thirds (66%) of shoppers while percentage off total purchase discounts by one in two (52%) consumers.
Coupons from the Internet (32%) and magazines (29%) are the next most popular ways for consumers to save money whilst shopping. Just under half (44%) of all discount users used them to buy clothing and accessories and 38% used special offers to eat out or to buy groceries in the past six months.
“This shows that people are working to stretch their money not only to help make ends meet, but also to put a little pleasure into their lives.” Ina concludes.
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