British Lifestyles report: Mintel

  • When asked about how their spending habits have changed over the past five years, some 56% of all Brits (amounting to 23 million adults) claim to now only buy items when absolutely needed and almost four in ten (37%) say they are buying fewer treats for themselves and their families.
  • While just over a fifth (22%) of consumers agree they have been better off over the past year, more than a third (36%) say things have become more difficult.
  • A further third (36%) of Brits claim to go on fewer holidays and almost a fifth (17%) are working longer hours as a consequence of the downturn.
  • In addition, while in 2008 six in ten Brits (60%) were perfectly happy with their standard of living, this fell to 50% in 2012.
  • Today, the top three financial priorities for British consumers are 1. Keeping up with bills (82%) 2. Adding to rainy day savings (67%) 3. Saving for big ticket purchases (58%). Just 6% of adults admit they haven’t changed their spending habits in response to the economic downturn.

Changing lifestyles

General Lifestyle Survey: ONS

  • Since 1971 household size declined from 2.91 persons to 2.35 in 2011
  • The proportion of adults living alone has almost doubled in the last 40 years, between 1973 and 2011 (9% and 16%), with the increase occurring in the first 30 years (1973 to 1998). Adults aged 25-44 were five times more likely to be living alone in 2011 (10%) than they were in 1973 (2%).
  • Over the last 30 years, since 1979, the proportion of women aged 18-49 who were married has fallen by a third (74% in 1979 to 47% in 2011), while the proportion cohabiting has tripled (11% in 1979 to 34% in 2011).
  • Although cigarette smoking has halved over the last 37 years (from 45% in 1974 to 20% in 2011) the number of cigarettes smoked by men and women has changed little since the early 1980s.
  • The proportion of men and women drinking on 5 or more days a week fell from 23% of men in 1998 to 16% in 2011 and from 13% to 9% of women. Men and women aged 45 and over are more likely to drink on 5 or more days a week than younger people.
  • Forty years ago only half of all households had access to a car or van (52% in 1942), in 2011 this had increased to three-quarters (76%). Over this period households with access to a single car or van has remained similar (44% in 2011), but the proportion of households with access to multiple cars has trebled (9% in 1972 and 32% in 2011).
  • Access to a home computer has risen continuously between 1984 and 2011, from 9% of households to 80%.