Saving grows as October chill and early rugby kick-offs keep consumers at home
A damp and chilly October plus the Rugby World Cup and continued politically-driven worries led UK consumers to stay at home last month, with even the normally reliable restaurants, hotels and pubs sector seeing a halving in growth to just 2.5%. Early-morning kick-offs are believed to have meant pubs and bars saw little benefit. While fashion spend enjoyed a slight boost from the cold, home goods still suffered from ‘big ticket anxiety’. Food and drink were the only area of respectable retail growth. A further slump in new car sales and on transport and travel generally completed the subdued pattern for October.
Overall, consumer spending was up just 0.8% on the same month last year, way below the estimated 3.1% increase in net income after taxes and mortgage interest payments. ConsumerCast estimates households saved an extra £2.5bn compared with October 2018. With rising levels of anxiety among the UK population, the highest average since 2013 according to the Office for National Statistics, caution remains consumers’ watchword at the moment.