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Around 7 in 10 adults spending less on non-essentials

Around 7 in every 10 (69%) adults in Great Britain are spending less on non-essentials because of the rising cost of living.

This is according to those asked between 6 and 17 September 2023 as part of our latest Public opinions and social trends bulletin.

The survey also revealed that half (50%) were shopping around more.

Retail sales volumes (the amount of stuff bought) across Great Britain were estimated to have risen 0.4% in August 2023, bouncing back slightly after a fall of 1.1% in July 2023.

Food stores sales volumes rose by 1.2% this month following a 2.6% fall in July 2023. Supermarkets reported that last month’s decline was due to wet weather reducing food and clothing sales.

Meanwhile, automotive fuel sales saw a 1.2% decline in August 2023 after a 0.9% increase in July 2023. Retailers have suggested that rising petrol and diesel prices caused the decrease.

Debit card spending on “automotive fuel” fell by 3 percentage points in the week to 24 September 2023, the fourth consecutive week-on-week decrease, according to data from Revolut.

Meanwhile, average fuel prices increased by 2 percentage points in the week to 17 September 2023, the ninth consecutive week-on-week increase.

A boost in average pay in May to July 2023, coupled with a recent reduction in the rate of inflation (rising prices), means that real wages (adjusted for Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) inflation) are beginning to improve compared with recent months.

Average regular pay (excluding bonuses) for employees rose by 7.8% in May to July 2023 compared with the same period the previous year, according to the latest labour market data. This maintains the highest growth rate seen since 2001.

Real terms (adjusted for CPIH inflation) total (including bonuses) and regular pay also rose on the year by 1.2% and 0.6%, respectively, during the same period.

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