Consumer confidence continues to grow amongst affluent shoppers
...but series of concerns hit confidence among lower earners
The two most affluent consumer groups in the UK have seen a considerable improvement in their consumer confidence since April, in what can be seen as a positive sign for the UK economy, according to CACI's consumer confidence barometer, which segments British Population Survey data into demographic groups.
Since the last barometer which covered the first quarter of 2012, the most affluent 'Wealthy Achievers' group, who typically live in high-status suburban areas, have shown a fairly stable view of their financial prospects across each of the last three months. This is a marked improvement on their deep pessimism at the start of the year. There has been a particularly strong growth in confidence from the sub-group of 'Flourishing Families', who have shown consistent positive sentiments each month since February.
Over the same period 'Urban Prosperity' shoppers, living in the affluent areas of the major cities, have moved from having slight doubt about their prospects to steadily improving optimism over each of the three months.
However, at the other end of the scale, the UK's most 'Hard Pressed' consumers have seen a marked decline in their consumer confidence since April.
Reflecting the continuing uncertainty in the UK economy, the 'Comfortably Off' middle Britain group has continued to show a fairly flat view of their financial prospects. However, this disguises three consecutive months of positive sentiment from the largest sub-group of 'Secure Families', at the very middle of the demographic spectrum and which make up over 15% of UK population.
Paul Langston, consulting partner for CACI, comments: "This is a triple positive for the UK economy. Firstly the biggest spending groups are growing in confidence and this is essential to drive retail sales. Secondly it is a sign that those in senior positions in UK businesses are seeing reasons for confidence within their own organisations and thirdly the core groups in the middle of the demographic spectrum are showing some stability.
"However, hard pressed groups have understandably grown increasingly concerned about their finances in recent months. The firming up of Government policies on welfare reforms, concern over housing benefits and the negative press resulting from the announcement of the double-dip recession have all eaten away at their confidence since April."
A long term trend during this recession has been that the discount stores have been benefitting from tighter budgets. However this new trend of confidence among the more affluent groups and mid-market sub-groups will most likely bring benefits for retailers including Debenhams, Hobbs, Jaeger, Laura Ashley, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Gap and the Body Shop.
Notes to editors:
About CACI's Consumer Confidence Barometer
Each month CACI monitors the responses to the BPS question: 'Thinking about your financial situation at present, how do you think it is likely to have changed in three months' time?'. The confidence levels of each ACORN demographic group have been assessed and the prospects of those retailers dependent on each group (see graph below).
The percentage showing economic confidence is calculated as a balance of those expecting a 'better' or 'much better' situation less those expecting a 'worse' or 'much worse' situation.
The British Population Survey is the largest up to date study of the British population. The data provides detailed information about the population, both at individual and household level with monthly historical data back to January 2008. Data is collected in person from 6,000 to 8,000 individuals each month (over 80,000 per annum) structured to provide a representative sample of the population.
CACI's ACORN demographic analysis (A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods) is the market-leading geo-demographic postcode classification that classifies the entire UK population into five categories, 17 groups and 56 types. ACORN is used for location planning and customer analytics. For greater detail on ACORN groups, click here .
Headquartered in London, CACI Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of CACI International Inc., a publicly listed company on the NYSE with annual revenue in excess of US $3.15bn and employing approx 13,200 people worldwide. CACI was founded in 1975 in the UK and operates from several offices across the country. We offer an unrivalled range of marketing solutions and information systems to local and central government and to businesses from most industry sectors.
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