Tuesday 8 October 2019 11:29 am

Retailers brace for tough Christmas trading as confidence slumps

Retailers are bracing themselves for a challenging Christmas trading period as consumer confidence this autumn slumped to a five-year low.

Only 21 per cent of shoppers think they will have more disposable income in the coming year, while 28 per cent expect their amount of extra cash to decrease, marking the lowest autumn sentiment levels since 2014. 

Read more: UK consumer confidence staggers in face of no-deal

Sentiment has fallen most sharply among the 25 and under age group, which has dropped 25 percentage points since the last survey in April, potentially creating an issue for brands that target younger customers. 

However, there has been a slight increase in confidence in the 55 to 64 age bracket since April, although this group remains the most pessimistic overall, according to the latest research from professional services firm PwC.  

“With Autumn sentiment at a five year low, retailers and operators in the leisure sector may face a challenging run up to the critical festive season, especially for those brands targeting younger consumers,” PwC consumer markets leader Lisa Hooker said.

Two in five of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they expected to Brexit to affect their spending levels over the next 12 months, an eight percentage point increase compared to April. 

Of those that said Brexit would dampen their spending, 42 per cent said they would buy fewer things, 31 per cent said they would postpone big ticket purchases and 29 per cent said they would go out less. 

Read more: UK consumer confidence slumps in June

Hooker said: “Despite the political upheavals affecting the country, consumer sentiment has remained remarkably resilient over the past five years.

“While our survey shows a decline since we last measured sentiment in April, British consumers are still more positive about their personal prospects than immediately after the EU referendum, and significantly more positive than during the last recession and recovery period.”

Main image credit: Getty