Almost 1/5 shoppers report spending less at the supermarket in wake of Brexit

July 22, 2016

The political and economic uncertainty which has followed the population’s decision to Leave the EU has been much discussed. At Attest, we wondered if it was possible yet to measure how real-world consumption and economic decision-making is affected by the result.

We asked respondents across the UK:

“What impact, if any, has the news of Brexit had on your supermarket shopping behaviours?”

Our poll shows that 28.0% of consumers are already altering shopping habits in the wake of Brexit. 17.6% are spending less than pre-Brexit levels, with 10.4% spending more.

How the results break down further

Attest’s dashboard allows users to breakdown responses using visual analytical tools. In this instance, a number of trends emerge from this breakdown - some more surprising than others.


The most significant determinant of whether spending on groceries had decreased was the level of household earnings. Households with higher declared incomes (>£70,000) are the least likely to show changing behaviour in the supermarket.

Amazingly, exactly 100% of households with an income of £50,000-70,000 said their spending had not changed, or were not sure.

By contrast, 33.3% of households with a declared income of £20,000-30,000 stated that they had ‘spent a little less’.


Interestingly, consumers in the South of the country were the most likely to have decreased their supermarket spending. The national average of responses to have ‘spent a little less’ stood at 12.8%. London, the South East and the South West all had rates above the national average to this response, with 14.1%, 15.0% and 33.3% respectively.


The gender divide does not appear to have been especially influential in shaping people’s consumer responses to Brexit. Women tended to be slightly more cautious than men, but only by a small margin: 20.6% of women said they had spent less, compared to 19.8% of men.

How useful is this information?

Data of this kind is valuable as companies look to adjust their strategies in the wake of Brexit.

The first lesson to take from these findings is not to panic or act rashly. 62.4% of respondents said they had not made any changes to their spending since June 24th. This implies that most consumers are perhaps waiting for clear indications of what will happen next economically before making spending changes, or simply that the Brexit outcome doesn’t hold any implication for their retail behaviour.

The results also tell us that for 10.4% people, Brexit has stimulated new economic confidence and encouraged them to spend more… although it remains to be seen whether such confidence was prothetic or misplaced.

Attest’s ability to track these micro-trends in consumer sentiment enables companies to respond to consumer desires ever more precisely, exploring and iterating faster and with greater customisation than ever before.

More generally, this data also tells us that 9.6% of the population simply may not have a strong sense of how their spending might change. Clearly low sensitivity to Brexit for these types of consumers, which we now have the ability to track in great detail.

As with all good research, great answers breed even better new questions. What does this make you want to investigate in more detail, and how can we help? If you would like to make use of Attest’s real-time market research technology, contact us here

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