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UK consumers feeling cost-of-living crisis more than European counterparts

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: FashionUnited

New data from the latest EY UK Future Consumer Index shows that cost-of-living pressures is affected UK consumers more than their European counterparts, as 62 percent are "extremely concerned" by the current crisis, compared with 50 percent in the rest of Europe.

The twelfth edition of EY’s survey of 1,000 UK consumers found that affordability continues to be at the top of consumers’ minds, with 54 percent of this group prioritising affordability, up from 42 percent in June 2022, compared to a rise from 24 percent to 39 percent for middle-income consumers.

EY survey also added that “green ideals” are being forfeited for affordability as the “planet first” mindset nearly halves from 24 percent to 13 percent between June 2022 and April 2023. More than half (56 percent) of consumers said sustainable products cost too much, while 71 percent said that price put them off purchasing.

However, EY notes that environmental ideals have not disappeared completely as research found that frugal consumer behaviours are now translating into green behaviours with affordability at the heart. Half (50 percent) of the consumers surveyed said they take environmental action when it will save them money, with trends such as ‘repair rather than replace’ continuing to see growth, up from less than half (49 percent) in February 2022 to more than two-thirds (68 percent) in April 2023.

Silvia Rindone, EY UK&I retail lead, said in a statement: “Our latest survey shows the strain the ongoing cost-of-living squeeze is having on UK consumers who are making more considered decisions about how and where they spend their money.

“This challenging, highly-price sensitive environment means brands and retailers need to work harder than ever to understand the factors influencing the UK consumer and re-evaluate ranges and pricing to better meet their needs.”