UK: The Deloitte Consumer Tracker: Q1 2013

Last Updated: 24 April 2013
Article by Deloitte Consumer Business Group

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

Key findings:

  • Sentiment on disposable income is stronger than at any time since Q3 2011.
  • UK household conditions remain stable in the first quarter of 2013.
  • The consensus is for the recovery to gain traction as 2013 progresses.
  • Despite a slight improvement compared to Q1 2012, spending remains subdued.
  • Looking ahead consumers remain concerned about rising utility prices.

2013 got off to an encouraging start with consumer confidence in disposable income improving for the fifth consecutive quarter.

The first quarter of 2013 has confirmed that the necessary conditions to reinvigorate consumer optimism are starting to emerge. In 2012 there were tentative signs of improvement: inflation fell which in turn helped to fuel a slight increase in discretionary spending. However, consumers remained cautious and continued to deleverage and save in anticipation of rising food and utility prices.

The latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker shows that in Q1 2013 confidence regarding disposable income is at its highest since the Tracker began in Q3 2011. There is less pressure on consumers' ability to spend as market uncertainty subsides and key macroeconomic indicators such as housing prices and retail sales start pointing in the right direction.

Moreover, consumers have healthier balance sheets, having worked hard to pay down some of their debt since the beginning of the economic slowdown. They are also reluctant to take on more debt, making the uptrend in consumer expenditure since the first quarter of 2012 even more significant. Recent Bank of England figures show that secured lending has fallen over the last four years, and although this reflects a drop in the number of housing transactions, it is also a sign that consumers are changing their attitude to debt. The consumer environment is also starting to improve. Although real earnings growth remains weak, and below inflation at just 0.3 per cent in 2012, it is better than the 1.7 per cent average annual contraction since 2008.

The question remains whether low debt interest and expectations of improving credit availability will be sufficient to give consumers enough confidence to continue to increase their spending in 2013. However with inflation forecast to rise in the next few months confidence could remain fragile.

Consumer confidence

Sentiment on disposable income is stronger than at any time since Q3 2011.

While household disposable income remains the main area of concern for consumers, it has continued to improve since the launch of the Deloitte Consumer Tracker in Q3 2011, showing a nine percentage point improvement compared to a year ago (from -40 per cent to -31 per cent).

  • Sentiment improved on all measures compared to the previous quarter.
  • Sentiment surrounding job security improved by three percentage points this quarter, the fastest rate since Q1 2012. Similarly debt levels at -9 per cent have nearly halved since the Tracker began in 2011.

  • Consumer confidence stabilised in Q1 2013 and is five points higher than at the same time last year, according to the GfK NOP consumer confidence index.

After falling steadily in 2012, consumer price inflation has edged up over the last three months reaching 2.8 per cent in February and remaining at that rate in March. The Bank of England expects that in the second half of this year inflation could rise above 3 per cent due to increasing energy prices and higher import costs.

Household disposable income

UK household conditions remain stable in the first quarter of 2013.

  • While 14 per cent of UK households saw a reduction in income in the first quarter of 2013, the same proportion of households received a pay rise or bonus.
  • People who received a pay rise or a bonus were twice as likely to be high income earners. In contrast those who saw a reduction of income were more likely to be from less affluent income groups.
  • This polarisation is reflected in the good performances reported by retailers at each end of the retail market.

  • Real earnings growth remained weak and below inflation, at just 0.3 per cent in 2012. However it is better than the average 1.7 per cent annual contraction since 2008.

  • In the final quarter of last year real spending was buoyed by rising prices in energy, food and drink, and clothing.
  • Overall real consumer spending has grown in each of the past five quarters by a total of around 2 per cent.

Economic outlook

The consensus is for the recovery to gain traction as 2013 progresses

  • There is still a risk that the economy could enter a triple dip recession, but the consensus is for the recovery to gain traction as 2013 progresses.

  • Recent official figures indicated that the labour market's recovery stalled for the first time in 16 months as employment fell.

  • Encouragingly, the latest Deloitte CFO Survey shows a strikingly broadâ€'based rise in confidence as British businesses look set to benefit from a less risky, and improving, global economic backdrop

Spending behaviour in the last quarter

Despite a slight improvement compared to Q1 2012, spending remains subdued.

  • Consumers spent more on utilities in Q1 2013 as a result of increased energy prices, while spending in discretionary categories continued to ease compared to a year ago.
  • Although clothing and footwear are showing an improved performance year on year, there was a deterioration in Q1 2013 following the coldest March on record.
  • Spending on main household appliances increased in Q1 2013, a sign that consumers are starting to consider buying bigger ticket items.

  • After four consecutive months at 2.7 per cent, despite food inflation easing, higher energy prices and the inclusion of student fees pushed inflation to 2.8 per cent in February. Inflation remained stable in March at 2.8 per cent.
  • According to consensus forecasts, inflation is likely to rise above 3 per cent in the second half of 2013 and fluctuate around this level into 2014.

To view this article in full please click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.