UK consumer spending to fall sharply in 2020: study

Source: Xinhua| 2020-11-21 21:21:52|Editor: huaxia

LONDON, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The average British household spending is set to fall by 6,600 pounds (around 8,744 U.S. dollars) in 2020, with total consumer spending not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, the London-based market research firm Mintel has said in a report.

Total British consumer spending this year is expected to decrease by 14.9 percent year-on-year, or 183.6 billion pounds (243.25 billion dollars), as the COVID-19 pandemic has been significantly affecting the economic activities, said Mintel in its "British Lifestyles" report published Friday.

"The COVID-19 lockdowns have had a profound impact on consumer spending, decimating the transport industry, and broader travel and leisure sectors," said Jack Duckett, Mintel associate director of consumer lifestyles research.

The report revealed that the biggest drops occurring in the transport, foodservice, and holiday industries, with consumer spending in these three categories falling by more than 5,000 pounds (6,624 dollars) per household -- representing around 77 percent of the overall decline in consumer spending this year.

By comparison, the biggest increases this year are in food, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic drinks, growing by 8.1 percent, 16.3 percent and 5.7 percent respectively year-on-year.

"Some sectors have benefited from the lockdown, with retail sales of food and drink boosted as all eating and drinking occasions moved into the home," said Duckett.

In the meantime, Britain's retail sales recorded the sixth consecutive month of growth in October as consumers stocked up ahead of national lockdowns, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Friday.

In October, retail sales volumes increased by 1.2 percent compared with September, up by 6.7 percent from the pre-pandemic level in February, said the ONS, adding that the volume of retail sales saw a surge of 5.8 percent year-on-year.

Notably, online shopping in October saw a strong jump, with sales value growing across all sectors year-on-year, said the ONS.

"While 2020 has seen significant behavioural change among consumers, some lockdown habits look set to stay," said Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, a London-based auditing and consulting firm.

The shift of consumers purchasing pattern toward online shopping would affect the performance of the upcoming Christmas, said Geddes, adding that "retailers are already applying creativity to deliver what is certain to be the most digital Christmas ever."

England is currently under a month-long national lockdown, the second of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country, amid uncertainties on whether the store would reopen during the Christmas holiday.

Another 20,252 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,473,508, according to official figures released Friday.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 511 to 54,286, the data showed.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines. Enditem