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British consumer spending showing signs of upturn

Recovery evident as consumer spending patterns mirror recovery stages of 2001 downturn

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

British consumer spending showing signs of upturn

The UK economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, according to improved online consumer spending patterns evidenced in research from Maximiles.

The 2009 Consumer Confidence Report analyses the online spending habits of approximately two million Britis

h consumers across Maximiles UK's shopping portal, ipoints.co.uk. The report has indexed consumer spending patterns online across everyday items from June 2008 to June 2009 and draws comparisons with the spending trends seen in the downturn at the start of the decade (March 2001, to March 2002). While consistent consumer spending and a booming housing market were key factors in Britain's narrow escape from official recession in 2001, the latest 2008-9 spending patterns reveal that now may be a time for cautious optimism.

Spending on basic consumer electronics and appliances such as personal music systems, DVDs, microwaves and kettles has increased by one per cent from July 2008, currently accounting for 23 per cent of total UK online spend each month, however this is down from a peak of 28 per cent in February of this year. However, consumers are looking for more value online as the average spend per person on these products each month has dropped from 9.61 to 6.04.

This mirrors the shifting consumer trends during the recovery periods of the last downturn when the proportion of our cash that we were spending on consumer electronics products per month peaked at 26 per cent at the height of the downturn and then decreased as the recovery began, slowing to 25 per cent. Guy Keeling, Managing Director of Maximiles UK comments: “During the last downturn, even though better credit conditions meant that consumers were spending more overall, we witnessed a definite rise in the number of purchases of everyday consumer goods as the recession peaked, and a marked decrease as consumer confidence picked up in early 2002. We are seeing this trend repeat today, indicating that general economic conditions are improving for many of our customers.”

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