Consumer spending confidence ‘at highest level on record’

British consumer spending confidence is at its highest recorded level, according to analysts Nielsen.

There has, however, also been a huge rise in worries about the economy, overtaking terrorism and immigration as the nation’s greatest concern, reported Nielsen in its latest global report on consumer confidence and spending intentions study.

The survey revealed that, in 2016, the number of people who cited the economy as their first or second-biggest concern rose sharply. The proportion of those doing so rose 12 percentage points to 28%.

Across Britain, all consumer sentiments relating to personal finances, spending intentions and cutting costs (except job prospects) were more positive at the end of 2016 than at the beginning. The proportion of Britons positive about making purchases finished 2016 at his highest level on record (53%).

Steve Smith, managing director of Nielsen UK and Ireland, said: “As the political and economic planning for Brexit gets underway, concerns about jobs leaving the UK have unsettled consumers, as did the US election.

“However, times generally remain good for British consumers, with strong employment and wage growth. Disposable income remains stable, while tax benefits for the lower paid and a rise in the minimum wage have reduced income inequality.”

The proportion of Britons who have switched to cheaper grocery brands to save money – an activity often regarded as a barometer of consumer sentiment and behaviour – finished 2016 at its second-lowest level on record (22%).

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