Eating out is key target for consumers’ cutbacks

Home cooking could be set for a further boost this year, with new research showing that consumers looking to economise are most likely to cut back on eating and drinking out.

Eating out is key target for consumers' cutbacks

According to IGD’s latest ShopperTrack research shoppers are feeling a lot gloomier about their financial prospects for 2011 than they were last year. Over three-fifths (61%) think they will be worse off in the next 12 months – more than double the level (27%) in October 2010.

When asked how they expected their personal circumstances to change in the next 12 months, shoppers answered as follows:

I will be a lot better off (1% v 8% October 2010);

I will be slightly better off (9% v 21%);

About the same (29% v 44%);

I will be slightly worse off (42% v 22%);

I will be a lot worse off (18% v 5%)

And when ShopperTrack asked where shoppers would be making economies this year, the highest proportion – 61% – said on eating or drinking out. Conversely, food shopping was at the bottom of the list, picked by 32%.

The other areas facing consumer spending cutbacks are: clothes shopping (58%); going out to the theatre/cinema/concerts (48%); holidays (43%); home entertainment (41%); treating yourself such as beauty treatment, massage (39%); travelling by car (34%); cutting back on savings (33%); charitable donations (32%); home and garden improvements (32%); food shopping (32%).

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “Shoppers of all ages and across all socio-economic groups are telling us they intend to cut back on non-essentials, such as going to the theatre or on holiday.”

But she added: “Shoppers seem to be less keen to economise on their food and grocery shopping, with only around a third citing this as a category they intend to spend less on. But this figure could be even lower, as our research also reveals that 32% of shoppers mistakenly believe that January’s VAT increase applies to all their food and grocery shopping.”

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