Thrifty and frugal are watchwords for shoppers in 2023 – Attest report

Consumer research platform Attest is predicting four key UK retail trends for 2023 with most of them linked to surging prices and lower incomes.

It said shoppers are pulling back on spending; thrift shopping is coming to the fore; the cost-of-living crisis is informing decision-making; and older shoppers are returning to stores.

Its UK Consumer Trends Report shows only 46% of British consumers are feeling positive ahead of 2023 while 30% feel negative as they head into the New Year.

That means shoppers will pull back on spending plans for 2023 with energy bills causing the biggest worry.

When quizzed on how they’re spending money going into the new year, 61% are pulling back, while only 18% say they’re spending “freely”. This new data highlights the changes from last year. There’s been a 10.2 point increase in “fairly cautious” spending and a 9.1 point increase in “very cautious” spending.

Unaffordable energy bills are by far the biggest issue (at 59%) worrying Britons for next year. This is followed far behind by the war in Ukraine (7%) and increases in petrol prices (6%).

Some 80% of Britons say their diets have been impacted by price rises for food, which also means they’ll have les money available for discretionary purchases, while 38% can’t afford to eat out, another issue that will dent the chance of them buying new clothes.

It’s interesting that rampant consumerism is going out of fashion, with discount shopping on the rise. Some 40% of consumers say they’re buying fewer things and consuming less – that’s an 8.5 point increase from last year.

And 44% of consumers will sell their unwanted goods, meaning the pre-loved market could be booming next year.

Shopping at charity and discount stores will also be a big trend in 2023, with 35% of consumers saying they’ll be hunting for a bargain in these shops to combat the rising cost of living.

But it’s not just about saving money as the environmental effects of fast fashion have been in the spotlight and seem to have had an impact. Some 23.5% fewer consumers say they’ll buy fast fashion items in 2023.

Also important is the fact that shoppers are returning to stores, especially older ones. Despite having less money to spend, consumers in general aren’t going to the shops any less frequently. The research finds a 6.2 point increase in people shopping “daily” and “weekly”, to 65%.

And while the pandemic increased adoption of online shopping among older consumers, Boomers are returning to the high street. Over 40% of Boomers say they now “mostly or always” shop in-store. Younger shoppers, on the other hand, still favour online with 47.2% of Gen Z and 49.7% of Millennials “mostly or always” shopping online.

But it’s interesting that Attest’s data found a 5.9% of Britons plan to shop less on Amazon in 2023. And it will also be interesting to see the impact of the delivery issues being faced this festive season. Some retailers are advising consumers to shop in physical stores rather than online due to postal strikes and weather issues that could mean they don’t get their deliveries in time for Christmas. This could leave a residual negative view of online shopping for some consumers going into next year.

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