Sarah King writes:
Yesterday’s news reports indicating that seven million Britons were only one bill away from disaster came as no surprise to anyone at The Futures Company. Our Feeling the Pinch study has been taking the temperature of UK and Irish consumers in recessionary times since 2008. We have identified and tracked three broad swathes of consumers, the self explanatory ‘Plain Sailing’, ‘Choppy Waters’ and ‘All Hands on Deck’ groups.
Across the study we have seen a significant increase in the size of the ‘All Hands on Deck’ [AHOD] group as more people move down from ‘Choppy Waters’ into a more pressured position. 60% of AHOD say that the level of debt they have is ruining their quality of life, and 37% of them say they could only cover their living expenses for less than a month if they or someone in their household became jobless.
At a Kantar event last week, the sentiments and behaviour of these three segments were mapped across polling by our colleagues at TNS-BMRB and retail analysis by Kantar Worldpanel. This work demonstrated that while value-seeking behaviours are entrenched in all groups, strategies differ. Those in AHOD buy offers that involve less outlay and actually reduce the volume of food they buy. It may be that they are wasting less food, but the possibility exists that some are going hungry.