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Consumer Fears over Brexit Lead List of Issues Facing Retail Sector

30 January 2019 - 16:03 by Graham Miller

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A study from Retail Economics which was commissioned by NatWest has shown that the thing which worries most British shoppers at the moment is Brexit.

48 per cent of respondents cited the turmoil surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union as being the most significant concern of 2019, leading many to rein in their spending at retail outlets.

13 per cent said that the weakening of the nation’s economy was a primary problem, while the same proportion admitted that they felt uncomfortable about the amount of money they had saved for a rainy day.

A weakening of house prices that is predicted to take place over the course of the year, particularly in the wake of Brexit, is yet another issue that is vexing consumers and preventing them from splashing out their spare cash as liberally.

Even with lower prices available via safe shopping online, there is still a general reluctance to make big purchases. 29 per cent of lower-income households mentioned worries relating to credit card repayments, while this troubled roughly 14 per cent of those in higher income brackets.

Study spokesperson Richard Lim said that he could not remember a period in which the UK’s retail market was in a trickier position, with the current levels of uncertainty and caution creating a world of woes for high street and online outlets alike.

Lim also argued that consumer expectations and shopping trends were shifting more rapidly at the moment than in any point in the past, making it tough for retailers to keep pace and provide experiences that are up to scratch. Embracing digital solutions and adopting a multichannel stance will be the only way to move forward positively and keep customers happy over the course of 2019.