Higher income consumers cut back in UK

07 July 2009

LONDON: Many of the consumers cutting their spending levels in the UK are in the higher income category, showing the recession has fundamentally changed purchasing behaviour in the country, a study from Acxiom says.

A recent typology of consumer trends in the UK identified a number of different segments when it came to reacting to the recession: "Crash Dieters", "Scrimpers", "Abstainers", "Clothcutters", "Treaters", "Justifiers", "Ostriches" and Vultures."

According to Acxiom's new Retail Dynamics report, a total of 19% of British shoppers who are planning to reduce their expenditure earn over £45,000 ($73,002; €52,397) a year.

This group typically spends over £90 a week at stores such as Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury's, but is now looking to cheaper alternatives such as Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and Netto.

By contrast, many shoppers with lower annual earnings are maintaining their expenditure levels, and may even increase them in certain areas.

"The most affluent groups are cutting back the most across nearly every category. Conversely, the less well-off segments are decidedly not about to make downward changes in their lifestyle, even though their incomes may be under threat," Acxiom found

"The relationship between how consumers feel and how they behave is complex – it's not always those who are most worried who are changing their behaviour first," it added.

As such, some consumers who have pressure on their budgets still plan to spend more on electronic goods, health and beauty and travel.

By contrast, their more wealthy counterparts are likely to rein in their outlay on financial services, food, flights and charity donations, according to Acxiom.

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph; additional content by WARC staff