Technology sales keep UK retail afloat

Consumer spending on technology and communications has supported UK retail sales to the tune of £50bn, as shoppers overcame fear, uncertainty and doubt about the economy, says market researcher Mintel.

Consumer spending on technology and communications has supported UK retail sales to the tune of £50bn, as shoppers overcame fear, uncertainty and doubt about the economy, says market researcher Mintel.

Mintel said in its latest British Lifestyles survey that only sales of technology, clothing and adornment grew in real terms since 2009.

"Consumers spent £50.5bn on technology and communications products and services in 2009," Mintel said, pushing sector growth up 80% in the past five years.

It expected another 20% growth in sales between 2010 and 2015, which translated into growth of 140% in constant 2010 prices, it said.

The study, Mintel's flagship report, showed that while Britain was officially out of recession, two-thirds of consumers were still worried about the economy, and that five out of the top six worries were economic. This highlighted the impact the recent financial climate has made, Mintel said.

The new government's fight against the £1.85 trillion deficit raised two new worries: cutbacks in public spending and the state of the NHS.

"Immigration and the Iraq war have also risen into public consciousness, with the former now ranking as the nation's number three concern," said Mintel research director Richard Perks.

"Consumers have moved from being fearful to being doubtful, and doubt, like fear, is not a strong foundation on which to make major purchase decisions," he said.

Source: Mintel2010
The main issues that worry consumers, 2009 and 2010
  February 2009 May 2010 % point change
Base: internet users aged 16+ 2,030 1,999 2009-10
  % %  
       
State of the economy 70.8 62.6 -8.2
My own financial situation 59.4 55.4 -3.9
Immigration 43.3 45.4 +2.2
My weight 46.1 38.6 -7.5
My job/employment prospects 36.6 36.7 +0.1
The level of national debt - 35.8 -
My health 42.9 35.1 -7.8
Interest rates 40.1 35.0 -5.1
Crime 46.0 32.5 -13.5
The state of the NHS - 31.9 -
Cutbacks in public services - 29.6 -
British politics 34.7 29.4 -5.3
The environment/global warming 36.3 28.0 -8.3
Iraq/Afghanistan war 20.0 25.6 +5.6
Property prices 34.2 25.3 -8.9
None of these 3.3 3.5 +0.2
Child abuse 35.3 - -
Drug/Alcohol abuse 28.1 - -

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