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Make do and mend: Britain’s wartime mentality is back

Consumer spending falls significantly across UK households 

As the UK continues to battle Covid-19 and a series of fuel, energy and distribution crises, households appear to be batting down the hatches in preparation for a post-pandemic Britain.

The once popular wartime mantra: ‘Make do and Mend’ is once again making a revival as household spending begins to fall significantly. ONS data analysed by Quotezone.co.uk, highlights a 23% dip in retail spending, excluding fuel and food, from June to August of this year, following a short-lived post-lockdown spending boom.*

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) household spending has fallen to its lowest level since January of this year and consumer confidence has fallen to 0.6% in September compared to 1.5% in August and 4.7% in July. This also correlates with new data from Quotezone.co.uk, that shows a 6.2% drop in the average value of contents insured over the last 12 months – falling from £47,382 to £44,423.

It’s likely that many households will be unpacking last year’s winter clothes instead of buying new, while others will be stalling on bigger purchases, like sofas or TVs until the dust settles. Households in the UK are likely spending less in preparation of an economic downturn, and some will already be feeling the squeeze and making cutbacks as a direct result of furlough and the rising cost of household bills.

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, a leading financial comparison platform, comments:

“The fact that September retail sales fell to their lowest level since January, a period when a hard lockdown was in place throughout the UK and non-essential retailers were forced to close, suggests a widespread trend towards reduced spending.

“The drop in spending from June to August is significant – but unsurprising. Economic disruption is becoming a daily occurrence as a result of a turbulent 16 months, and while some will be reducing spending in anticipation for Christmas, it’s likely many will be taking a longer-term view of their finances.

“The majority of households are looking to save more pre-winter, making it an ideal time to give finances a winter health check.  A good place to start is to check how competitive suppliers are by not auto-renewing, review direct debits and cancel any luxuries, order in bulk and look to sell or repurpose existing household items no longer needed.

“Comparison sites help households gather information – they can give an overview of what’s on offer across multiple suppliers – comparing prices, add-ons and policy features, instantly, to help them make savings.” 

Quotezone.co.uk is one of the UK’s leading financial comparison platforms, helping millions of consumers find better deals on everything from personal loans to credit cards, and from home insurance to shop insurance.


This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.