LONDON: Consumers in the UK are becoming more pessimistic about the country's economic prospects and are increasingly likely to reduce their expenditure levels, a new report has revealed.

GfK, the research firm, surveyed 574 adults, and found 36% expected to trim their spending rates during the Christmas period, a figure which had expanded by ten percentage points year on year.

Such a trend reflects widespread unease regarding the broader outlook, as 69% of the panel believed the national financial situation would get worse before it got better, up five percentage points.

Pam Armstrong, managing director of GfK Consumer Products and Retail, said: "GfK's findings mirror the concerns already expressed by some retailers towards Christmas trading and warnings of tougher conditions on the high street this year."

Elsewhere, 72% of interviewees intended to shop online this year, and 25% anticipated increasing their ecommerce outlay.

Another 42% of contributors had started buying items in this way earlier than in 2010, having recalled postal problems last year.

Equally, 38% pursued this course of action in response to the bad weather experienced around this time 12 months ago.

Overall, 40% of the consumers planning to purchase a majority of goods from the internet during the holidays actually began this process in September and October.

The same proportion of participants agreed that websites were easier to use than was the case in 2010, while 32% suggested ecommerce security protection had got better.

"There's a big opportunity for retailers to take advantage of other channels such as the lucrative online shopping market, but to be competitive they need to win consumers' confidence and provide a good customer experience," said Armstrong.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff