Just when you thought you'd seen/heard enough opinions pre & post EU referendum, the polling giant IPSOS has been asking its own questions about the spending decisions consumers are making, or not. But why is this relevant to companies whose businesses don't directly sell to the end consumer? Because we are all less than 3 steps away from the people who use our products and services.
When they feel worried or hold back from spending, balance sheets everywhere are affected. The question is really only for how long and how good you are at playing chicken with the bank, the suppliers or even more drastically, the workforce who are of course themselves consumers creating a virtuous circle. Perfect. Here's the press releases that IPSOS have just sent me.
One in ten delay big spending decision post referendum
One in ten consumers have opted to delay or abandon a big spending decision because of the EU referendum result, a survey by Ipsos MORI has found. However, the majority (57%) expect their personal financial situation will be unchanged over the next six months.
The research, among more than 1,000 UK adults aged between 16 and 75, finds just over a quarter (26%) had been planning a big spending commitment, such as a holiday, car or house move for the coming six months. Of those, 16% have decided to go ahead with the purchase as planned, but 5% have decided to delay and another 5% have decided not to continue at all.
Half (50%) have no plans to change the amount of their income they put into savings over the next six months – and as many plan to increase the amount they’re saving (16%) as reduce it (13%).
Overall, while significant numbers are concerned about their finances, a majority do not expect their personal financial situation to change significantly over the next six months, the figures show. Some 57% say that their personal situation will be unchanged, and 18% even think it will be stronger six months from now, although 26% expect things will get worse. This tallies with research conducted prior to the referendum, which found a similar proportion of people (58%) believed that if the UK voted to leave the EU, their standard of living would not change over the coming five years.
The public is more split when looking at more specific issues related to their personal finances. Some four in ten they are concerned about their ability to pay the bills (38%) and to buy things they’re used to buying (39%) over the next six months, and this is particularly true of those on low incomes. Of those who are in work, more than a third (37%) are concerned, or very concerned about their job prospects. In all cases, though, a larger proportion say they are not concerned about these over the months to come.
This “business as usual” attitude to their own finances is not reflected in attitudes to the economy as a whole. Ipsos MORI’s Economic Optimism Index, published last week, found that economic optimism has fallen to its lowest level since January 2012. Nearly six in ten of those surveyed said Britain’s general economic condition will get worse over the next 12 months (57%).
Commenting on the findings, Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI, said: “The impact of the Brexit vote on consumer confidence is undeniable – we’re seeing the lowest level of economic optimism in four years, though we’re not in 2008 territory yet. Initial indications are that retail footfall is holding up, the pound has stabilised after its initial precipitous drop, and today’s findings show most of us don’t think we’re going to be personally affected in the immediate future. There’s little indication that people are taking panic-stricken or rash decisions, but the question will be whether the “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude can win the day or we’re seeing precursors of the economic pain to come.”