Consumer sentiment increased from -7 to +3 in the four months to 5 January as a result of political changes and real wage growth, new research has found.
However, in spite of their increased overall confidence, consumers still plan to spend cautiously, auditing firm PWC reports.
Out of the 2,000 people surveyed, 30% of respondents said they will buy fewer fashion products and 24% said they will buy clothes less often.
“It seems that the recent political certainty has seen consumer sentiment get a much-needed boost, reaching the highest it’s been in five years,” Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PWC, said. “This is a good result and will hopefully make for an improved 2020 for retailers as challenges continue to impact the sector.
“We’ve heard how Christmas was tough for some high street brands. However, our survey shows that UK consumers are increasingly positive about their personal financial prospects, and this spans across the country, where sentiment is now relatively consistent, with no single region lagging behind the national average.”
The study also showed that many consumers plan to cut back on groceries, with 30% saying they will waste less and 29% saying that they plan to shop around more.
Hooker added: “With consumers increasingly shopping around to get the best deals and the growing concern about sustainability and its impacts on purchasing behaviour, retailers will still have to work hard to persuade shoppers to spend in the year ahead and grab a ‘share of wallet’. It’s crucial to both get the basics right and continue to invest in price, product ranges, stores and customer service whilst making access easy. This includes both helping shoppers find what they want and maybe providing credit, while also thinking about how you win from emerging trends.”