British spending power slows ahead of 2016 – Asda’s latest Income Tracker

LEEDS, England, 2015-12-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Families set for a festive hangover despite double digit increase in disposable income for 13th consecutive month.

  • Average UK household had £193 of discretionary income last month, up by £14 a week compared to November 2014
  • Despite 13th month of double digit increases in disposable income, rate of growth slowed – from an average of £17 a week enjoyed throughout the rest of the year
  • 2015 review shows spend on big-ticket items up in the first three quarters of 2015, with spending on vehicles increasing 11.5% compared to 2014
  • Family fun remained a focus with spending on recreational and cultural activities rising 8.3% ahead of the festive period

With the nation ready to pop its cork on New Year’s Eve, Asda’s latest Income Tracker shows families will have something to celebrate – discretionary income reached £193 in November, up by £14 (7.7%) on the same time last year. This marks the 13th consecutive month of double digit increases.

However, as Santa steers Rudolph back to the North Pole it’s not just reindeers being reined in – Asda’s Income Tracker shows November’s £14 extra spending boost fell short of the £17 average we’ve seen during the rest of 2015, thanks to just a slight increase in inflation that is expected to continue into the New Year.

Still, the extra boost to wallets powered spending throughout 2015. Between January and September consumers spent a massive £861bn – up from £835bn for the first three quarters of 2014. But with Brits spending less on stocking their cupboards, many instead treated themselves to big-ticket items – particularly in the first half of 2015. The number of people who bought new wheels increased significantly with spend on car purchases up 11.5% compared to the first three quarters of 2014. Splashing cash on jewellery and watches also proved popular, increasing 9.1% on the same period last year.

It was out with the old around the home; with a 6.6% increase in spend on furniture since 2014. While gardens also benefitted from the seeds of recovery, with an 8.7% year on year rise in spending on gardens, plants and flowers in the first three quarters of the year.

However, shoppers didn’t limit their spending to material goods. As the festive season comes to a close, a review of Asda’s Income Tracker shows that Brits devoted more of their budget to dining out at restaurants and cafes with loved ones in 2015, up 2.1% compared to the same period of 2014.

Buoyed further by the steep fall in vehicle fuel costs, down 12.9% compared with a year ago – other recreational and cultural activities also enjoyed a boost of 8.3% in the first three quarters of 2015, with recent pantomime and party outings likely to contribute to strong growth over the year as a whole.

Asda President and CEO, Andy Clarke, said: “The good news for customers is that pressure on household budgets has clearly eased in the run up to Christmas as a direct consequence of decreases in the cost of food, fuel and energy prices. There are also indications that customer spending has shifted this Christmas with households spending less on food and drink in 2015 compared to last year and instead families are using their increased spending power on leisure and festive fun which is understandable after a period of financial uncertainty.”

Sam Alderson, Economist, CEBR, said: “While growth in spending power has slowed to its lowest level in the past 12 months, the boost is still considerable – particularly given that spending power has risen on an annual basis for over two years. Buoyed by these increases, households have increased spending over the past year – particularly on big ticket items such as jewellery and household appliances.”

You can read the full report here.



Asda’s Income Tracker: British families have more money in their pockets but likely to spend less this Christmas

LEEDS, England, 2015-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — UK families likely to spend less this Christmas as Asda’s Income Tracker reveals they actually have £17 a week more in their pockets than last year

  • The average UK household had £193 of discretionary income in October, up by £17 a week in October compared to 2014
  • Price of vehicle fuels dropped by 14%, giving families more to smile about ahead of the great Christmas getaway
  • The cost of electricity and gas fell by 4.1%, easing the pressure as the mercury drops
  • Yet research shows that even with deeper pockets, over one in five (21%) customers is planning on spending less this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, and Asda’s latest income tracker shows that British families have more money in their pockets to celebrate the festive season.

Households across the nation have been enjoying a boost to their coffers with an extra £17 a week of discretionary income in their pockets, a rise of 9.6% compared to this time last year . However, customer confidence still remains cautious ahead of the Christmas period.

Despite discretionary income being up with families having an average of £193 a week to spend, Asda’s recent Christmas spending survey suggests that not everyone is splashing out this year. In fact, two-thirds (68%) of consumers are planning to spend the same amount on Christmas this year as they did last year, while one in five (21%) are actually planning to spend less.

Those tackling the Christmas commute to visit loved ones this year will receive a welcome relief thanks to a significant drop in fuel prices. The latest Income Tracker shows a 14% fall in the price of vehicle fuel compared to this time last year, meaning that those hitting the road to visit relatives will do so much more cheaply this Christmas.

Whether it’s competing with the neighbours for the brightest light display or huddling around the fire to watch a Christmas classic on TV, the latest Income Tracker shows that people can embrace the festive spirit without burning a hole in their pockets, as the price of home electricity, gas and other fuel fell by 4.1% on last year.

With a fifth planning to spend between £300 and £500 on seasonal celebrations, a further drop of 2.7% on food and drink prices, as well as overall deflation of 0.4% on essential items, is a welcome treat for Brits this Christmas. Now they can start to stock the cupboards with the family’s festive favourites for less.

You can read the full report here.


Brits continue to enjoy boost in spending power – Asda’s latest Income Tracker

LEEDS, England, 2015-10-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Families continue to enjoy boost in spending power as Asda’s latest Income Tracker reveals that Brits were all fired up with an extra £18 a week to spend in September, compared to 2014.

  • The average household across the UK enjoyed a September surprise with weekly discretionary income reaching £192 a week, up £18 on September 2014
  • Prices of essential items, like food and drink dropped by 2.3%, firing up appetites for a big night in
  • A drop in the cost of gas helped heat up homes and beat the autumn chill
  • All regions avoided feeling the heat on their bank balances, as the UK has seen 2 years of continued growth in spending power

As the cold, dark winter nights start to creep in, UK families will be warming up to the fact they can enjoy more of the things they want. Asda’s latest Income Tracker has revealed that the average household now has £192 a week of discretionary income, up by £18 a week (10.6%) on the same time last year.

What’s more, it’s not just the temperatures that are falling. A 2.3% drop in the price of food and drink over the past year means that those to hibernating at home, can stock their cupboards for those big nights in from of the TV watching X Factor or The Rugby World Cup, particularly as the UK’s inflation rate continues to hit negative numbers (-0.1%), with September marking the eight consecutive month of near zero inflation.

As icy lows loom for the coming months, there is an extra comfort blanket in the form of falling gas prices for those keeping an eye on the pennies, with a welcome pre-winter drop of 2.1% in September meaning consumers can feel more confident when heating up their homes.

The good news doesn’t stop there, however. For those Brits looking to visit families over Halloween and Bonfire night, falling fuel prices will help to make the journey more enjoyable, with petrol prices dropping 3.7p per litre in September.

Meanwhile, families choosing to add to their summer styles for a last-ditch summer break, made the most of extended sales which led to bigger bargains, and with Bonfire Night nearing, sparks are also expected to fly amongst shoppers looking to stock up on clothing essentials to help them brave the colder months.

Taking a national view, it’s a positive picture across the board, with all regions across the UK seeing double-digit increase in household discretionary income over the last year, ranging from a £12 increase in Scotland, to a £24 increase seen in the Capital.

Households in Northern Ireland continued to make up for lost ground against the other regions, whilst the three most prosperous regions; London, the East and the South East, all moved further ahead of the country, with spending power rising by over £20 year-on-year:

  • London experienced one of the strongest increases in income growth in the last quarter, supported by wage increases in the financial and business services
  • The West Midlands have seen a sharp fall in unemployment rates, driven by a rise in automotive manufacturing and inward investment into the Birmingham and its surrounding areas
  • Although Scotland has felt a slowdown in gross income growth, essential item inflation remains negative in the region, a driving force behind the easing pressure on household finances
  • Northern Ireland has once again experienced the strongest year on year growth in discretionary income across all parts of the UK, as household spending rose by 15.1% in the year to Q3 2015

Chief Customer Officer Barry Williams said: “Two years of solid growth on discretionary income shows real stability in the economic recovery. Across the UK the benefit will be being felt, granted in some areas more than others, but double digit growth can only be good news for those holding the purse strings. It’s interesting that people continue to spend differently however, carrying their savvy shopping habits from the financial crisis with them and reprioritising their spending on treats and activities with their families, making the most out of their new found spare income.”

Sam Alderson, Economist, Cebr, said: “The further falls in gas and fuel prices in September provided more good news to households in September. With inflationary pressure remaining muted, an interest rate rise looks likely to be the next challenge facing households. This is now expected to come in mid-2016, as a more turbulent global economy means rates could stay lower for longer.”

You can read the full report here.


Asda’s latest Income Tracker: Brits had an extra £18 a week to spend in August compared to 2014

LEEDS, England, 2015-9-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Families continue to enjoy spending their extra cash as Asda’s latest Income Tracker reveals that Brits had an extra £18 a week to spend in August compared to 2014.

  • The average UK household had £191 a week of discretionary income in August 2015, up by an extra £18 a week (10.7%) on August 2014
  • Fuel prices dropped by 12.9%, giving rugby fans on the road across the country a reason to celebrate
  • The cost of stocking cupboards and fridges for a big night in falls, thanks to a 2.4% drop in food and drink prices
  • Big screens and sound-bars which bring the games to fans see a 9.2% fall in price

Following opening night celebrations and a weekend of sporting excitement, Brits will be enjoying a taste of financial freedom during the Rugby World Cup, with more to spend on enjoying the games with friends and family. Asda’s latest income tracker shows that families now have £191 a week in disposable income, an increase of £18 a week (10.7%) on the same time last year.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. Those travelling the country to support their favourite teams and see the action up close needn’t give a second thought to tackling transport costs, with fuel prices falling 12.9% on August last year and the falling rate of inflation dropping back to 2.6%, making the journey to the game even more enjoyable.

Families choosing to have a big night in and watch the drama unfold from the comfort of their living rooms will also enjoy the benefits of the current economy. With food and drink prices falling by 2.4%, there’s even more reason for consumers to stock up on everyone’s favourite treats for a night in front of the TV cheering their team on!

What’s more, for those rugby fans eager to feel as if they are at the heart of the action, a 9.2% fall in the cost of audio visual equipment sees the average big night get even bigger, with the increase in spending power making it easier to convert the home cinema dream into a reality.

Chief Executive at Asda, Andy Clarke, said: “The economy continues to go from strength to strength and stability in the wider economy remains the key driver behind an increase in disposable income across the UK. Since the economic collapse there has been a shift in behaviour around spending versus saving and even though we’ve seen family’s spending power rise, households are choosing to save more money for a rainy day.

“Events such as this year’s Rugby World Cup provide economies with a shot in the arm and supporters visiting from across the world will be pleased to see that a fall in the rate of inflation across travel, hotel, sports equipment and restaurant are all contributing to an increase in disposable income.”

As more and more Brits celebrate the 10.7% rise in spending power, restaurants and bars continue to benefit from the boost in consumer spending confidence, no doubt looking to build on this as a nation of supporters gets set to celebrate and socialise by dining out.

Sam Alderson, Economist, Cebr, said: “In the wake of the global headwinds emanating from the slowdown in the Chinese economy, further evidence of strong growth in family spending power is welcome news for the UK economy.”

“Even though Christmas is fast approaching, with wages rising at rates well above inflation, households are in a great position to enjoy the autumn months and events such as the Rugby World Cup. ”

Read the full report here.


Asda’s latest Income Tracker reveals that Brits had an extra £18 a week to spend in June compared to a year ago

Asda’s latest Income Tracker reveals that Brits had an extra £18 a week to spend in June compared to a year ago, with the falling price of food, drink, clothing and outdoor living freeing up cash for some fun in the sun

  • The average UK household had £189 a week of discretionary income in June 2015, up by £18 a week on the same month in the previous year
  • The price of food and alcohol, which fell, 2.2% helped boost incomes
  • Summer fashion sales meant the cost of clothing and footwear fell by 0.4% between May and June
  • Most regions of the UK saw double digit increases in household discretionary income over the last 12 months

LEEDS, 2015-7-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The sun has shone pound signs this summer as Asda’s latest monthly Income Tracker reveals that Brits had an extra £18 a week in their pockets in June this year. Families across the UK now have £189 a week to spend on the things they want, rather than the items they need, which is over 10% higher than this time last year.

The traditional British picnic will be saving family’s dough this summer, as the price of food was found to be 0.2% cheaper than last month and 2.2% cheaper than the same time last year. The downward effect came from a range of items including bread, jam, chocolate and confectionery. But if you’d rather toast than bread, then drink to the news that alcoholic beverages also saw a 2.2% decline in price from June 2014!

And Brits won’t be hot under the collar this summer, as the price of clothing was 0.8% lower than the same time last year. Summer fashion sales also helped the price of clothing and footwear to fall by 0.4% between May and June.

Those Brits basking in the glory of Wimbledon can also share in the good news – the price of equipment for sport and open-air recreation was 2.8% cheaper in June this year. Serena supporters and Murray backers will surely cheer when they hear that games, toys and hobbies also saw a 3.5% price decrease compared to June 2014.

Taking a national view, it’s a positive story with most regions having seen double digit increases in household discretionary income over the last 12 months. These ranged from the £12 increase seen in Wales to the £22 increase recorded in London:

  • While London saw a more subdued rate of discretionary income growth, thanks in part to higher essential item inflation, households experienced the largest increase in pound terms with household discretionary income reaching £22 per week.
  • Households in the West Midlands and Scotland experienced an acceleration in the rate of gross income growth in the latest quarter. This was supported by falling rates of unemployment within these regions. Over the past year, the West Midlands has seen the rate of unemployment fall by 1.5%. Household spending power in Scotland is now growing at 10.1% year-on-year.
  • The North East experienced a 2% fall in unemployment over the past year.
  • Northern Ireland once again experienced the strongest year on year growth in discretionary income of all parts of the UK. Households across Northern Ireland have particularly benefitted from the falling cost of essential items, as household spending power rose by 17.4% in the year to Q2 2015.

Commenting on the findings, Chief Customer Officer at Asda, Barry Williams, said:

“This month’s tracker brings yet more good news for households across Britain – as the summer holidays approach and the days are getting brighter the pressure on family budgets will be lighter and giving them a chance to spend more money on the things they want to do, rather than need to do.

“It’s reassuring to see that Northern Ireland continues with its accelerated recovery and that the North East continues to benefit from a fall in unemployment.”

Sam Alderson, Economist, Cebr, said:

“The continued and widespread increases in family spending power are good news for the UK economy, particularly given the global economic uncertainty surrounding China and Greece. The increase in discretionary incomes over the last year appears to have supported a further pick up in retail spending in recent months. This looks likely to continue over the second half of the year and will provide a key driver of economic growth in the UK in 2015.”

Read the full report here.