Which? has created a series of 12 Consumer Insight reports comparing trends in optimism, trust and worry felt by people in the UK across the last year.
Between January and December 2018 Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 1,502 adults in London in order to get a clear understanding of how people feel in that specific region.
This research allowed Which? to gain an insight into how consumers felt about various aspects of their lives, be it their financial situation, their trust in public services or their standard of living.
The research shows that, on average, Londoners were less satisfied overall than the rest of the UK, with 61% of those surveyed saying they were content with their standard of living, compared to the UK average of 68%. Similarly their levels of satisfaction with their financial situation, household income and amount of leisure time was below the UK average. Although these figures suggest Londoners were less satisfied than the average UK consumer, when looked at by age this changes the outlook held by the region. For example, 62% of over 65s were satisfied with their household income, a figure that’s higher than the UK average of 50%.
How do Londoners feel about their financial situation?
In contrast to the rest of the UK, Londoners were much more positive when it came to their personal financial futures, with 34% thinking they would be better off in the following 12 months, compared to the UK average of 26%. Again, breaking the results down by age, 52% of 18-29 year olds were financially optimistic for the year ahead whereas only 11% of over 65s were equally as positive.
This research also seeks to identify how consumers may change their spending over the following 12 months. Whilst many said they would try to keep their spending the same, focusing on vital commodities like gas and electric, 28% of people told us they were looking to reduce their outgoings on non-essential expenses like socialising and eating out.
Identifying trends in financial difficulty is also a key part of the survey. There are various signs of financial difficulty measures from least severe (simply cutting back) through to the most severe (defaulting on a bill, load or rent). Populus asked respondents whether they had experienced some kind of financial difficulty in the last couple of months which meant they had to take one of those actions. 32% of Londoners told us that they had some sort of financial difficulty, a proportion that is noticeably larger than the UK average of 27%.
What industries do people trust the most?
The survey also identifies the industries and public services consumers trust to act in their best interest. Across the UK there is a considerably high level of trust in the health service, as 75% of respondents said they trusted their General Practitioner (GP) and 73% trusted the NHS in general. In London, although the figures were lower, GPs and the NHS still topped the list for trust in public services with 67% trusting each of these to act in their best interest. At the other end however, car dealerships and estate agents sit at the bottom of the list with a trust figure of only 11%.
Worries and concerns
When it comes to understanding what concerns consumers in London had in 2018, the three areas where the largest proportion said they were worried were public spending cuts (66%), Brexit (65%) and energy prices (63%). What isn’t surprising of the region is the percentage of people who were worried about fuel prices (61%) being significantly lower than the UK average (68%), which could be due to the range of public transport options available in London relative to other parts of the UK.