UK consumers fear post-Brexit price rise: report

19 May 2017

UK consumers are preparing for an expensive and uncertain post-Brexit future, with four out of five fearing price rises on household essentials such as food, drink and clothing, a survey has revealed.

Eighty-three per cent of UK citizens admit that they were concerned about price hikes in goods and services, while 59 per cent were worried about the soaring cost of groceries, according to a poll for Mintel's 27th annual British Lifestyles report. Spiralling holiday costs were a concern for 35 per cent, and 26 per cent feared higher prices for clothing and shoes.

The report warned that as shoppers had become used to ultra-low food prices following several years of deflation, impending price increases could prove painful for household budgets. The steep fall in the value of sterling following the Brexit vote last June has led to increased prices of imports, especially of food and clothing.

With food prices expected to rise in 2017, average spending on grocery shopping looked likely to increase unless shoppers found ways to maintain spending through trading down or cutting waste.

UK citizens also preferred to spend on leisure activities and experiences over material possessions, in what is being dubbed ''the experience economy''.

According to Mintel, despite political turbulence following the vote to leave the EU, consumer spending increased 3.7 per cent last year to 1.2 trillion.

Around 31 per cent of consumers, down from 39 per cent in July last year now believe the vote will adversely impact the UK's economic growth.

According to Jack Duckett, a senior consumer lifestyle analyst at Mintel, the research underlined consumer concerns over post-Brexit price increases.

''Mintel research underlines particular concern about the rising cost of in-home food, and inflation is undoubtedly going to squeeze household budgets,'' The Independent reported.

''However, broader consumer confidence is still relatively strong. Despite rising prices, most people still expect their finances to hold up well over the next year.

''Despite the current political uncertainty, Mintel revealed that consumer spending rose by 3.7 per cent last year to reach 1.2 trillion.''

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