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R3 survey reveals change in consumer spending habits

More than eighty percent of the population have changed their spending habits over the last twelve months, with over half (51%) of the population buying fewer non-essentials such as clothes and DVDs, according to a survey by R3, the insolvency trade body.

The research finds that close to half (47%) of consumers say that they now shop around before buying goods, with over a fifth (22%) admitting that they have started to buy non-essentials from supermarkets instead of specialist retail chains.

R3 President, Frances Coulson says:
“Over the last year people have seen the cost of living increase as their pay has been frozen, cut or, in the worst scenarios, they have lost their jobs. People are uncertain about what the future holds financially and the most natural response is to be cautious. We are seeing households tightening their domestic belts and looking for ways to reduce monthly out-goings. In these instances non-essentials are the first to go. However, it’s clear from the results that for those who do not wish to go without their non-essentials the supermarkets seem to be offering a better deal.”

Interestingly, the figures show that women are leading the charge when it comes to reducing their costs. More women have switched to ‘value’ or ‘own’ brands: 42% compared with 32% of men. Over forty percent of women (44%) have started using vouchers when shopping, whereas just 31% of men admit to doing so. More than one in five women (23%) now set themselves a budget, whilst only 15 percent of men have started working to a budget.

Coulson comments:
“It is encouraging to see that a considerable percentage of people are actively trying to lower their expenditure as this will help them to live within their means. However, it is a shame that budgeting remains quite low down on people’s agenda. Setting a budget enables you to clearly see how much you spend against your income. A budget is probably the most powerful financial weapon in the fight against debt and its value should not be underestimated.”

Notes to editors:
Methodology: ComRes conducted 2052 online interviews between 15th April and 17th April 2011. Data were weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (

R3 Press Office

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.