Our latest research suggests that Scottish consumers have more concerns about public spending cuts, the cost of essentials and the state of the economy than the rest of the UK. Whether you’re a Scottish resident or you live elsewhere, does this ring true with you?
We’ve just published our latest Consumer Insight Report for Scotland, which portrays a picture of how Scottish residents are coping financially, what concerns them, and what their spending habits are.
Is Scotland the UK’s most concerned nation?
Our research is based on analysis of regular polling of consumers across the UK throughout 2017. It found that Scottish residents were most concerned about public spending cuts, followed closely by the cost of daily essentials – fuel, energy and food.
Interestingly, when we compared Scottish levels of consumer worry to the rest of the UK, in most areas, it seemed that Scottish consumers had greater levels of concern than their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Does this match your experiences?
Our research also found that many Scottish consumers are anxious about the current, and future, state of the UK economy, with nearly half rating the state of the UK economy as ‘very poor’ or ‘fairly poor’. This was a higher proportion than in England, Northern Ireland or Wales. Over half of Scots also said the state of the economy was likely to get worse over the next year.
More bills, less fun?
So what’s the impact of this outlook on Scots’ household finances? We found that many Scottish residents anticipate increasing spending on the ‘must-pay’ bills in the next 12 months – such as energy bills and groceries, running a car and paying rent or mortgage.
Of course, this leaves less room for the fun stuff in life – so does this mean that Scots are spending less money on having fun than residents in the rest of the UK?
The areas they were likely to reduce spending on were the ‘luxury’ items, including socialising, eating out and takeaways, household items like appliances and alcohol or tobacco. Worryingly, one in five feel they may have to decrease the amount they put away into savings and investments.
Businesses must earn Scottish consumers’ trust
Our findings show that certain industries need to do much more to gain consumer trust – these include the car industry, and estate and lettings agents, with level of trust below 10%. Gas and electricity companies could do better for Scottish consumers at 31%, and airline/holiday operators and train travel also have room for improvement.
Perhaps they should learn from the industries at the top of the table – the water industry enjoys an amazing 69% trust. Some of the providers of essential services could also do better – broadband/home phone providers, banking and mobile phone services all stand at less than 45%.
A new consumer body in Scotland
After long delays, the Scottish government is due to consult on a new consumer body, Consumer Scotland within the next few months. We call on the government to ensure a more coordinated approach to consumer policy in Scotland – making sure that consumers are at the heart of decision-making, and that their concerns are heard and understood properly.
Do other nations share Scotland’s concerns?
We’re keen to hear from you – whether you live in Scotland or not – to find out whether you think this research reflects your own experiences.
Do you think people in Scotland have more concerns about their finances and the state of the economy than those living in the UK’s other nations? Are there some specific issues that concern Scottish consumers more than other UK countries – and vice versa?