British shoppers are showing signs of cautious optimism in the run-up to Christmas, as low levels of unemployment and rising wages suggest a slight uptick in spending confidence.
Just over a quarter of UK retail consumers think they will be better off in the next 12 months, marking an improvement in sentiment compared with last year and the beginning of 2018, , according to accountancy firm PwC’s latest retail consumer survey.
In a poll of 2000 adults PwC found that the number of consumers predicting they will be better off was marginally higher than those thinking they will be worse off.
The figures come exactly a decade on from the survey’s lowest ratings, when 62 per cent of adults thought they would be worse off and only 12 per cent better off.
Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said: “Despite the recent negative indicators, both politically and economically, this may be a sign that consumer spending is more resilient than some observers expect, potentially buoyed by low unemployment and relatively high wage growth.”
Hooker added: “In the critical run-up to Christmas, the cautiously optimistic consumer could represent a major boost for high street retailers already facing headwinds generated by increased online competition, business rates and Brexit-related costs.”
Kien Tan, retail director at PwC, said: “Looking forward, the younger the respondent, the more optimistic their outlook. Younger people, in fact all age groups under 45, think they will be better off on balance in 10 years’ time, with only over 55s consistently negative.”