Supermarkets

Cost of living crisis will not curtail Brits summer spending, M&S finds

While looming cost of living concerns aren’t yet showing signs of dampening summer plans - M&S added that younger generations in particular are starting to change their behaviour in response

The cost of a living crisis is not dampening UK consumers’ desires to make the most of this summer, according to Marks and Spencer’s latest ‘Family Matters’ update.

It found the cost of living is cited as a top concern by 82% of UK families, up 10% since the end of last year. This has had a knock-on impact on overall optimism about family prospects, which stands at 42%, up slightly (2%) from November however down 9% from March last year.

Despite this it said family optimism stands at 42%, up 2% since its last index in November but down almost 10% from a year ago (51% in March 2021). It found that top of the summer list for families is eating more healthily (53%), followed by exercising more regularly (47%) and a desire to spend more time outdoors (40%).

This demand for a health-kick may be inspired by the third (33%) of families concerned about getting enough nutritious food – the fastest-growing concern since the Family Matters Index launched in March 2021 (up 11%) – as well as the 54% of Brits concerned about their family’s health.

In addition, M&S said Brits have “big plans to make the most of the restriction-free summer”, with 61% planning to go on a holiday, and just over half (34%) set to staycation in the UK.

While looming cost of living concerns aren’t yet showing signs of dampening summer plans – M&S added that younger generations in particular are starting to change their behaviour in response.

After household bills and mortgage payments, 40% of 18-24 year olds are prioritising savings, above the average of 31%, and way ahead of spending on food and drink (19%), leisure activities (11%) and holidays (8%).

Uncertainty about the future may also be starting to impact shopping habits. Across the board, M&S said value is a “key deciding factor” when choosing where to shop – 78% of people ranked this as a top three priority, ahead of convenience (55%) and customer service (47%).

Tamsin Robertson, head of Clothing and Home Customer Insight at M&S, said: “It’s encouraging to see people more motivated than ever to exercise. When we first launched our Family Matters Index back in 2021 during lockdown, mental health consistently came up as a priority.

“Maintaining your physical health can deliver so many mental health benefits also and it would be great to see this enthusiasm for exercise sustain all year round. It’s a trend we’ve seen already at M&S – in the past year our great value activewear range Goodmove has grown by 26% as people get moving.”

Maria Pickett, head of Food Customer Insight at M&S, added: “Our latest index suggests cost of living concerns will continue to rise over the coming months, with value set to become even more important to families. At M&S Food, we’re focused on delivering our trusted value promise, which matters more than ever to our customers.

“Trusted value means offering great value food without compromising on quality and freshness, sourcing standards or at the expense of our suppliers. Earlier this year we announced new investment in our value proposition – we’ve invested over 100million in the past three years.”

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