Confidence in the economy slipped amidst news about fuel shortages and inflation heading into the autumn, as well as growing rates of COVID19. Consumers continued to shop regularly, but basket sizes reduced.
Confidence in the UK’s economic situation grew in the run up to summer, with 55% of people feeling optimistic in May. However, this started to fall as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in June. News headlines reporting inflation and fuel shortages increased concern going into September and October.
While people continued to shop at a steady rate, grocery items per transaction fell throughout 2021, suggesting people held back on some non-essential purchases.
Growth in occasion-led categories
Bakery & convenience categories received a boost as shoppers began to socialise more and head back to offices.
‘On-the-go’ based categories saw the strongest year-on-year growth within convenience, with bakery goods, impulse food and meal solutions coming out top. We did not see a repeat of the bulk buying behaviour witnessed last year, especially regarding frozen food.
Growing trust in travel
Since July, people are feeling more comfortable to book holidays, with COVID-19 vaccinations being a key driver. Many are planning their travels for 2022, though 2 in 5 intend to stay in the UK.
Increasing numbers feel comfortable to book a holiday, reaching 36% in October 2021.
Holiday hopes grew, though may be UK bound
While vaccinations boost comfort levels, many are still holding off from committing to holidays abroad.
Said COVID-19 vaccines make them feel more comfortable to travel
Intend to stay in UK for summer 2022
Will not travel during summer 2022
Return to work
Hybrid working increases
Greater numbers are returning to the office and adopting a hybrid working model. They are increasingly confident that this model will work but feel offices need to do more to ensure safety.
Positivity towards office benefits has reduced
Workers are less enthusiastic about the benefits of office working and want employers to do more to ensure safety in a climate of increasing COVID-19 rates and greater numbers of people in office spaces.