High street consumers more confident, finds report

Consumer confidence is returning to the high street, with around one in five shoppers, or 19%, now expecting to be better off in the year ahead. Those numbers are the highest confidence boost since January 2011, when only 10% felt they would be better off.

The figures were announced following research by IGD’s ShopperVista, which showed that customers in the north of England felt the greatest increase in confidence in the last three years, jumping from just 8% in 2011 to 20% in 2014.

However, the grocery think-tank’s report showed that while confidence was up, consumers remained cautious and were likely to have retained their “savvy shopping” habits learned during the recent recession.

Around 64% of consumers said their main priority for grocery shopping during 2014 would be to save money, while 47% said they would be looking to cut waste, while a further 47% said they would be shopping to a budget.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “The steady stream of recent positive economic news, such as falling unemployment and higher growth, has helped to improve shoppers’ financial outlook.

“While London shoppers remain the most confident about their personal finances, optimism appears to be spreading beyond the capital, with those in the north of England reporting the highest increases in confidence.

“However, worries about increases in utility and fuel bills, and wages not keeping up, mean shoppers remain cautious. ‘Savvy shopping’ techniques developed during the recession are here to stay and are seen by many shoppers as common sense. They include shopping around to get the best value, or meal-planning to reduce food waste.”

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