Shopper confidence remained stable in the UK in March at -4, which is also the highest since January 2020, latest data from IGD’s Shopper Confidence Index has revealed.
It is also the highest level in over a year and results from the easing of lockdown restrictions, the rollout of the vaccine, and Easter.
At the end of March, shopper confidence improved to -2 as the focus shifted to family gatherings over Easter, and restrictions began to ease.
The index dipped to -9 in the same period last year, when the pandemic started.
Confidence among consumers in the Midlands and North England is rising, but London and Scotland see a decline, the study showed.
Focus On Quality
The index also revealed that consumers’ focus on quality for the year ahead also recorded its highest level (18%), driven by higher earners who have the disposable income to ‘trade up’.
Director of Global Insight at IGD, Simon Wainwright, said, “The focus on quality provides grocery retailers with an opportunity to encourage shoppers to trade up. This underlines the need to continue to invest in NPD and innovation to maintain and gain market share from the more affluent shopper.”
Data also showed that 22% expect to be better off in the year ahead, and 26% expect to be worse off.
Polarised Shopper Sentiment
However, shopper sentiment is becoming increasingly polarised between income groups, and an expected K-shaped recovery will see some shoppers grow in prosperity while others are left behind or stay the same.
More people with higher income (26%) believe they will be better off in the year ahead, while 24% expect to be worst off.
Among people with lower income, 34% expect to be worse off, while 14% believe they will do better this year.
Wainwright added, “As we head into a K-shaped recovery, saving money remains a top priority for lower-income households. Due to COVID-19, only 28% of lower-paid workers on furlough reported receiving their full wage than 52% of higher-paid workers.
“With unemployment not set to peak until Q4 2021, before declining slowly, savvy shopping is likely to be a key behaviour for those shoppers most adversely affected, particularly those aged 18-24.” [Pic: ©Lucian Milasan/123RF.COM]
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.