Consumer confidence has fallen for the first time in more than a year amid unease about disposable income and debt levels, according to a poll by Deloitte.

Recent consumer behaviour has had a severe knock-on effect on UK business performance. Consumers are simply spending less and the penny-pinching sentiment has had a negative effect on consumer-driven industries such as retail and the restaurant sector. Consumer confidence has been softened by recent economic disruptions, such as high inflation and interest rate rises. A recent report has placed Brexit uncertainty at the top of the list, with consumers tightening purse strings while talks with the EU  remain unresolved.

According to a survey conducted by accountancy group Deloitte, consumer confidence dropped by three points in the third quarter of 2018. Confidence has been knocked by recent economic behaviour, with household disposable income and debt level driving most of the anxiety.

The retail and restaurant sectors have experienced low profits and minimal footfall as consumers no longer occupy themselves with shopping sprees or retail therapy. High-profile retailers such as Toys R Us and Habitat have already collapsed this year, and others such as New Look have followed through with restructuring procedures to keep their doors open amid financial difficulty.

With the government making slow but steady progress with Brexit conciliation talks, political uncertainty should likely dissipate in the near future. To boost consumer confidence in the meantime, however, retailers should make the effort to gauge interest away from online retailers and back towards the high street.


Essential and discretionary spending fell, Deloitte said, and consumers said that they were likely to increase spending on essential items in the next quarter but to cut back on non-essentials. They felt less optimistic about levels of disposable income and personal debt, which Deloitte said could be a reaction to the Bank of England raising interest rates in August to 0.75 per cent.

At the Credit Protection Association, many of our Members supply consumer-driven industries or trade within them. Unfortunately, many of our Members have bemoaned their shrunken cash flow as low consumer confidence has driven down their turnover and prosperity.

We have encouraged our Members to go on the offensive. Gauging consumer interest through new technology, new products and new marketing angles are sure ways to drive up sales and bring a more successful 2019. The CPA collection team chases down unpaid invoices and old debt, restoring financial confidence and strengthening cash flow. Refocusing on one’s own financial standing has allowed our Members to focus on new investments and opportunities, pushing up consumer confidence, as well as their own.




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