When consumers are feeling cash-strapped, they are less likely to seek out new beech kitchen worktops and other similar products. After all, as attractive and practical as these work surfaces can be, they do not fall into the category of essential items.
Since the banking crisis that affected the UK and much of the rest of the world, many individuals have been feeling the financial pinch. Wages have been depressed and the cost living has been steadily increasing. Therefore, many people may have been putting off luxury purchases.
However, demand for solid beech worktops may now be on the rise. New research suggests that Brits are gaining confidence in their finances once again.
According to figures released by Barclaycard, consumer spending in the UK rose by three per cent year-on-year in September. This was the sixth month in a row that an above inflation rise was recorded.
The firm also noted that spending on DIY-related items went up by 5.8 per cent during the 30-day period. Some of this money may have been spent on beech worktops.
Of course, it was not just home improvement products that people were splashing their cash on. Barclaycard also noted that spending on restaurants increased by 11.2 per cent, while clothing buys rose by 2.4 per cent.
However, people were still exercising caution in some areas. For example, while the number of supermarket transactions was up by 4.8 per cent, the average transaction value was down by 5.2 per cent. Barclaycard suggested that this indicates shoppers are hunting down the best deals by visiting a number of different shops.
Commenting on the figures, the firm’s chief executive Val Soranno Keating remarked: “Consumer spending was up again in September, growing three per cent year-on-year and out-pacing inflation for the sixth month in a row. Shoppers are spending more but they remain cautious and we’re seeing them make smart choices to stretch the household budget – using public transport instead of the car, eating out more but spending less each visit, and shopping around supermarkets to take advantage of the best offers.”
She added: “There’s been a lot of debate over the scale of the economic recovery and whilst we’re not quite out of the woods yet, the fact that consumer confidence is at a six-year high, economic growth is up and spending continues to grow clearly shows that we’re on the right path.”
Barclaycard also revealed that online spending rose by 6.7 per cent and its share of total spend climbed by 0.7 per cent to 20 per cent. It is no surprise that consumers are increasingly turning to the web to buy goods. This can be a quick and convenient means of purchasing products, whether they are beech kitchen worktops or anything else. Also, cyberspace affords people plenty of choice and there are lots of bargains to be found. Consumers operating on strict budgets may therefore be particularly keen to use the internet. This can help ensure that their budgets stretch as far as possible.
About the Author – Anna Longdin is a freelance blogger who contributes regularly to a wide range of home improvement and lifestyle sites, including Worktop Express®.