Though we may hear in the news that recession is over and recovery is well under way, the collapse of the global economy has left a number of scars in its wake, causing people to completely re-evaluate the way they approach their finances and think about money in general. One of the most significant shifts has been in the way we choose to part with our cash, with a number of new trends emerging.
Quality over quantity is a well-known phrase that has been no more prevalent than it is now within the British psyche. It’s testament to why popular, established brands can survive, even in times of real hardship – just look at global giants like Apple or Microsoft – as people prefer to invest money in good quality products that are expected to last, in the hopes it will save them cash in the long run. In many cases it pays off, so long as you’re willing to take the time required to shop around for some good deals.
If you haven’t yet heard the term ‘staycation’ then you should get accustomed to it, as it seems you are likely to be hearing a lot of it in the coming years. Holidays are without doubt one of the most extravagant splurges for any consumer but the penny pincher’s amongst us have wizened on to the benefits of holidaying a little closer to home, opting for local attractions and day trips rather than expensive flights and accommodation abroad. This not only helps cut costs dramatically for individuals but it actually helps to put money back into the British economy; it’s a rare win-win situation.
One of the most dramatic changes has been in younger consumers, who, learning perhaps from the mistakes of the previous generation, are breaking down frivolous stereotypes to become some of the most frugal spenders amongst us by, rather simply, not spending. As reported by Scottish Friendly, 66% of Brits aged 16-24 now set money aside each month. Combine this with the fact that less than 1% of them currently places this in a pension and this research shows the increasing shift towards self-reliance and personal savings over traditional investments and corporate owned schemes, be this for better or worse.
Despite the fact that higher end, luxury style brands of electrical goods and so on may be able to hold on to their customer base despite recession, there has been an increase in the number of people willing to open themselves up to the possibility of change. Whereas before, most people were loyal to one supermarket and tended to stick to their favourite clothing brands, cheaper alternatives have thrived on the aftershock of the crash by providing people looking to cut back with valid options.
In a similar vein, we have seen the continued growth of the DIY approach, with the likes of self-tanning and at-home hair colouring more popular than ever, with many ditching the pricey salons they would once have sworn allegiance to.
Though some changes may seem small at first, it is undeniable that people are continuing to feel the effects of the economic crisis, as if nothing else, it has made us all more aware of the power in money and the importance of remaining in control.