Mintel’s British Lifestyles report, now in its 27th year, tracks consumer spending across all major markets.
This year’s report found British consumers are braced for an expensive post-Brexit future, with four in five fearing price rises on goods and services, a survey has found.
But it also found some shifting trends from the past 12 months:
Jump in sales – source: Mintel’s British Lifestyles report.
Fish, nuts, popcorn and free-from foods all saw a jump in sales thanks to the increasing number of health-conscious Britons.
Sales of chilled fish and shellfish grew by 3% last year, as did nuts, while sales of free-from foods jumped 16% and popcorn was up 10%.
Meanwhile, pasta, pre-packed bread and processed poultry and meat all saw declining sales.
An office worker in sandals walks in the sun near London Bridge (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Sales of shaving and hair removal products fell by 5% as young women favour the “au naturel” look, the report said. Mintel’s data showing that 83% of women aged 16 to 24 agreed there was too much pressure on them to remove or groom body hair.
The number of women aged 16 to 24 who removed hair from their underarms last year fell to 77% from 84% in 2014, and 85% removed hair from their legs, down from 91%.
Britons are increasingly prioritising spending on leisure activities and experiences over material possessions in what has become known as “the experience economy”.
Kite surfers on Margate beach
The leisure and entertainment market grew by an estimated 3.2% in 2016, outpacing the 2.4% growth estimated for the clothing, footwear and accessories category.
The drive to cut sugar in British diets resulted in increased sales of bottled water.
Almost a quarter (23%) of non-alcoholic drinks launched in the UK in 2016 carried a low, no or reduced sugar claim, up from 15% in 2011.
Bottled water has gained more fans (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Half (48%) of bottled water drinkers say that concerns over sugar prompted them to switch, with sales growing by 9% in 2016 to £2.2 billion.
Across the country as a whole, 59% of Britons say they are happy with their everyday life, but this rises to 76% of people who say that their finances are healthy.
Almost two-thirds (63%) say their family have contributed to their happiness over the last year, while 36% say their relationship has brought them joy. And 21% say their pets have been a source of happiness.
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