From cautious spend to increased confidence in travel, we investigate UK consumer trends this autumn.

Economic Outlook

Confidence slips

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.

Economic confidence

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.

Source: Nectar Grocery Tracker (2,000 interviews per month)

Shopping behaviour

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.

Source: Total Fresh, Grocery & Value Added Food 108 weeks to 16/10/2021; Nectar Data Only


Growth in occasion-led categories

Bakery & convenience categories received a boost as shoppers began to socialise more and head back to offices.

Convenience rebounds

‘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.

Source: Total Fresh and Grocery, Convenience, 12 weeks to 16/10/2021; Nectar Data Only


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.

Holiday confidence

Increasing numbers feel comfortable to book a holiday, reaching 36% in October 2021.

Source: Source: Nectar 360 Omnibus/ Travel Pack, ~2,000 interviews per month

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.

In June, almost 58% people were working mainly at home. However, when remaining restrictions on social contact were lifted in July, more people started heading back to offices. By October, only 46% of people were working mainly at home and 21% had adopted hybrid working.

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.

Source: Source: Nectar 360 Omnibus/ Travel Pack, ~2,000 interviews per month. % Respondents who somewhat agreed or strongly agreed with the statements.

Further Reading

This article is a taster of our full paper, if you wish to read more please click here

Contact Us

If you would like to hear more about Nectar360’s Data and Insight capabilities or review our previous COVID-19 reports, please contact us using the form below and someone in our team will be happy to help.