Ethical shopping and buying less: dealing with consumer spending changes

New research from Paymentsense shows people plan to spend less on luxuries and buy more ethically in 2019. What should small businesses do?

Consumers are planning to spend less in restaurants, takeaways and clothing retailers this year.

The study from Paymentsense shows that 56 per cent of UK consumers are planning or considering cutting their spending over the coming year. These frugal-minded spenders expect to save an average of £131 a month or £1,572 over 2019.

This will be achieved by cutting back on eating out (35 per cent), ordering takeaway food (33 per cent) and buying new clothes (31 per cent). This is closely followed by a curb on buying crisps, cakes and chocolate (27 per cent) and going to pubs or bars (23 per cent).

The most popular reason for a cut in spending is to keep up with living costs – true for 42 per cent of respondents.

Why people want to cut back on spending in 2019

Keeping up with the cost of living42
Holidays in UK and those that require a flight42
Rising prices because of Brexit14
Decorating or renovating their home14
A new car11
A new house or flat11

Figures also show that many are moving with trends from 2018. Guy Moreve, CMO of Paymentsense, says, ‘A growing trend is ethical consumption. Over 2018 we saw increased we saw increased awareness and attention to environmentally friendly lifestyle habits such as veganism and sustainable fashion. We feel that this coming year will see continued movement in this area.’

How small businesses can deal with changing consumer spending habits

‘Small businesses should see this as an opportunity to review different aspects of their offering, and their suppliers, to look at what can be improved to tap into this growing consumer sensitivity,’ Moreve continues.

First off, take a look at your brand’s ethical credentials. Have a think about whether you could make any simple swaps like giving customers paper straws instead of plastic or improving your workplace recycling facilities.

Observe competitors and your industry as a whole to see what they’re up to and see if you can gather inspiration from them.

Moreve also suggests using in-store or online surveys to find out what your customers think, then act upon it.

‘Find out why they visited, what they liked and disliked, how they see your brand, what kind of products and services they prefer to buy the most.’

As well as your business plan, marketing plan, accounts and website, review all of your processes. Take card payments, for example – is your website optimised for mobile payments and can customers make card, contactless or mobile payments in-store? Ease of purchase can make the difference in a customer spending with you or a competitor.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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