Make do and mend: Britain’s wartime mentality is back as spending nosedives
As the UK continues to battle Covid-19 and a series of fuel, energy and distribution crises, households appear to be battening down the hatches in preparation for a post-pandemic Britain.
The once popular wartime mantra, ‘Make do and Mend’, is once again making a revival as household spending begins to fall significantly.
ONS data analysed by Quotezone.co.uk and shared exclusively with City A.M. today highlights a 23 per cent dip in retail spending, excluding fuel and food, from June to August of this year, following a short-lived post-lockdown spending boom.*
Similarly, new retail sales data for September from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed that retail spending has fallen to its lowest level since January of this year at just 0.6 per cent, compared to 1.5 per cent in August and 4.7 per cent in July.
The sharpest fall in sales was seen by furniture and homeware retailers, which shows a 6.2 per cent drop in the average value of contents insured over the last 12 months – falling from £47,382 to £44,423.
It’s likely that many households will be unpacking last year’s winter clothes instead of buying new, while others will be stalling on bigger purchases, like sofas or TVs until the dust settles.
Households in the UK are likely spending less in preparation for an economic downturn, and some will already be feeling the squeeze and making cutbacks as a direct result of furlough ending and the rising cost of household bills.
“The fact that September retail sales fell to their lowest level since January, a period when a hard lockdown was in place throughout the UK and non-essential retailers were forced to close, suggests a widespread trend towards reduced spending,” Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, a leading financial comparison platform, commented.
“The drop in spending from June to August is significant – but unsurprising. Economic disruption is becoming a daily occurrence as a result of a turbulent 16 months, and while some will be reducing spending in anticipation for Christmas, it’s likely many will be taking a longer-term view of their finances,” he told City A.M.
“The majority of households are looking to save more pre-winter, making it an ideal time to give finances a winter health check. A good place to start is to check how competitive suppliers are by not auto-renewing, review direct debits and cancel any luxuries, order in bulk and look to sell or repurpose existing household items no longer needed.”
“Comparison sites also help households gather information – they can give an overview of what’s on offer across multiple providers instantly – comparing prices, add-ons and policy features to help them make savings.”