Three-quarters (74%) of British consumers believe that food prices will rise after Brexit, with one in four expecting food prices to increase a lot, a recent survey has revealed.

HIM Shopper Research & Insights also found that a similar proportion (75%) of consumers think that stores will have emptier shelves and less choice than before Brexit, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Although EU leaders agreed at a summit last week to extend the UK’s departure date to at least April 12th – and to May 22nd if Parliament finally supports Prime Minister May’s withdrawal agreement at the third attempt – uncertainty continues to weigh heavily on businesses and consumers alike.

HIM’s survey of 1,000 consumers was conducted before last week’s political developments, but the findings clearly highlight uneasy sentiment, which in turn is leading to changing shopping habits.

It is reported that one in four consumers are planning to save money or reduce their household expenses in preparation for Brexit and this is having an impact on some particular categories.

A full 69% of those consumers who are looking to save money are cutting back on buying clothes, while other sectors that are taking a hit include eating out of home (56%) and holidays/event tickets (50%).

Just 13% expect to spend less on fruit and vegetables, but more than a quarter (27%) say they will cut back on alcohol if prices go up because of Brexit, with confectionary (24%) and soft drinks (22%) also in their sights.

On a more positive note for brands and retailers, the survey found that most consumers (64%) are not planning on making any changes to their shopping habits in preparation for Brexit, although 13% are stocking up on food.

And any stock shortages at supermarkets and convenience stores are expected to benefit discounters and online retailers because just 46% of consumers think discounters will have higher prices after Brexit compared to 68% who think supermarkets will raise prices.

Another 74% of British shoppers also expect no reduction in choice and availability when shopping online, which might be considered over-optimistic given that online retailers also rely heavily on free-flowing trade and just-in-time product delivery.

Sourced from HIM; additional content by WARC staff