Trends Briefing: The Cost-of-Living Crisis & the Next Few Months
Thursday 28th September 2023
Six months on from our last briefing on the cost of living crisis and with the British public still in the midst of the greatest hit to living standards on record – what might the months ahead hold?
Since the start of the cost of living crisis we’ve been closely tracking consumer sentiment, consumption patterns, and spending expectations. Much has changed since we last explored this crisis, for better and for worse, but much has also stayed the same.
What has that meant for consumers – and how they think about the future?
Inflation has fallen to its lowest point since March of last year but remains stubbornly high – and sticky – whilst the spectres of high food inflation and in-store shrinkflation threaten to stay for the long-run. A warm summer and falling gas prices has driven concerns over energy costs down – but with winter ahead and no promise of government support come the colder months will consumers be able to weather the coming costs?
Meanwhile, revisions to economic analysis by the Office for National Statistics have left the UK economy in a better, though by no means strong, position than previously thought – but that is unlikely to come as any relief to those struggling with increased mortgage costs and spiralling rental fees. And with inflation falling slower than expected, more interest rate rises may be ahead.
The UK may still be avoiding recession, but recessionary experiences remain the lived reality for millions of Britons.
Yet those experiences are not universal. We’ve been seeing a return to fragmentation – the gap between the have’s and have-not’s growing wider. That gap looks set to widen further – an economic and financial recovery for some, but not for all.
What does that look like for those set to benefit – and for those set to linger in the cost of living crisis experience? What issues or further economic hurdles should we be on the look out for in the months ahead? And what does this all mean for the UK as we begin to look to 2024?
Join us for our next Trends Briefing on September 28th where we’ll tackle all these questions and more. As ever, our insights will draw on hot-off-the-press data from our monthly consumer sentiment barometer and come with implications for businesses, strategists and policymakers.