To spend or not to spend, that is the question?

Recently two articles caught my attention:

  1. Welsh disposable incomes rise at fastest rate in the UK
  2. Huge squeeze hits family budgets

In summary, the first article touched on recent figures released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that disposable income in Wales rose 3.3% on the previous year. (UK average increased by 3%)

The second article went onto explain how consumer spending power fell further in March 2012, falling by 1.1% on a year earlier after inflation.  This equates to £113 less a year to spend on non-essential items.

It’s hard to make neither head nor tail of these statistics, particularly when you see the ONS reported retail sales jumped 3.3% in March 2012 compared to March 2011.

The increasing cost of essential spend such as food, fuel and utility bills to name a few, combined with average pay rises falling by 1.1% does mean the majority of households are feeling the pinch.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t spending or everyone is in financial difficulty.

It goes without saying that there are those out there that may not be in a position to indulge in life’s little luxuries, but 51% of the Welsh population sometimes treat themselves to something they don’t need.

Using TGI, I have selected some interesting nuggets on what our nation has spent their disposable income on over the last 12 months.

I’ve looked at a variety of secondary spend items/activities or it could be argued that they are considered ‘luxuries’ in the current climate. We are still shopping for the home which would coincide with some recent reports I have read detailing how entertaining in the home is on the rise. However 69% of Welsh adults have eaten out in a restaurant, so entertaining in the home may be on the up but we are still eating out! It’s clear that people are still spending, and the nuggets suggest that not everyone’s outgoings supersede their income as is often suggested in the media.

The economy has moved the goal posts, by this I mean consumers may not be shopping in the same places they were before the first recession. Back in 2008 let’s say someone was earning £35,000 and had £500 a month left over, they didn’t receive a pay rise and the cost of living has increased so now in 2012 they have £250 a month left.  This means if they want to continue to shop in the same stores they were in 2008 than they will do so less often, or start shopping in stores that are price competitive.

The increasing cost of living has in some way affected all of us, albeit varying in degrees of severity. Most of us can identify how our shopping habits have changed but we are still shopping, just in different places.

Please leave a comment below, or get in touch with me directly on, jodi.stuart@realradio.co.uk or @realradiojodi

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