WPR Releases Consumer Spending Report as the Cost-of-Living Crisis Begins to Bite

Almost 90% of UK consumers are concerned about the cost-of-living crisis and believe they will be at least £232 worse off each month, a report from PR, social and paid media agency WPR has revealed.

According to the study, which polled 2,000 Britons in the days immediately after the chancellor’s spring statement, almost 60% are braced for a recession within the next 6-12 months and 85% expect to cut back on household spending.

Following the research, the agency today released its ‘Communicating During the Cost-of-Living Crisis’ report, created to help marketers understand how different sectors can expect to be affected by reduced disposable incomes, and how brands can win their share of a reduced consumer spend in the months ahead.

Ranking 20 core consumer spending areas from least to most affected, the report looks at likely net changes by age, gender, household income and location across a wide range of sectors including hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, fashion and beauty, retail, home and garden, and automotive.

The reports also focuses on how marketers across each of these sectors can retain existing customers and attract new ones, despite the challenging market conditions, with detailed analysis of the factors that will have the greatest influence on consumer spending during the current squeeze.

Managing director of WPR Jane Ainsworth said: “We’re living in the age of the ‘permacrisis’ and UK consumers are reeling from years of uncertainty and upheaval. They’ve endured Brexit, followed by the pandemic, followed by war in Ukraine, and now face what looks set to be the most significant drop in living standards since the 1950s, with energy bills and inflation soaring.

“In the immediate and medium term, these factors are going to have a significant impact on consumers’ priorities and purchasing habits. This presents a unique challenge for businesses in considering how to communicate and appeal to consumers who are giving serious thought to where and how they spend their hard-earned money.

“The consumer insights in our report will help marketers understand how and where consumers expect to change their spending habits, and what different demographic groups are prioritising in the current conditions. It will help marketing teams adapt their strategy and messaging, ensuring they are making the most of the opportunities that remain.”WPR Consumer Spending Research - Cost of living crisis research and analysis

Key findings of the report include:

  • 87% of consumers are concerned about the cost of living
  • 85% of consumers expect to cut back on household spending to cope with the increased cost of living
  • Sustainability, corporate social responsibility, positive reviews and a strong reputation are among the most important factors that influence consumer spending during a squeeze
  • Consumers will be cutting back on days out and other non-essential leisure activities, though they will maintain spending with the brands they like most
  • Energy-saving products are not a priority for consumers despite rising bills
  • There are opportunities for growth providing marketers develop a strategy that is in tune with today’s market


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