Mintel predicts UK will ride out global downturn

The UK will weather the global downturn better than other economies, according to Mintel, which yesterday published a report on British consumer spending.

The survey analyses changes in spending priorities over the past decade. It reveals mobile phones are the fastest growing ‘household’ item with a 439 per cent sales increase between 1996 and 2001. The ownership of home computers has also risen by nearly 24 per cent between 1995 and 2001.

The convenience food sector grew 66 per cent between 1991 and 2001 and alcohol consumption is displaying a trend away from beer and towards wine and spirits.

The eating-out sector experienced a period of recession in the early 1990s, but picked up between 1996 and 2001 with a growth of 8 per cent and is set to grow 5 per cent over the next five years.

The number of fitness clubs continues to grow and, while the male grooming sector didn’t reach the highs predicted, it remains the fastest growing sector in the overall toiletries market.

The British travel sector, hit last year by foot-and-mouth disease and the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, fared better than predicted. Air fare revenues have held up well, largely due to the success of budget airlines, while on-line spend on leisure travel is increasing, with a £2.82bn expenditure in 2000.

Consumer research was also undertaken immediately after 11 September 2001 and again at the end of November to gauge whether talk of recession had influenced spending patterns.

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