On balance, UK consumers are more confident about the longer-term future health of the UK economy than prior to the Brexit result.

Our latest market survey shows that whilst the nation’s attitude towards disposable income and the ability to save has become slightly more negative in September compared to May, net positivity towards the economy in general has grown from -3% to 10% over the same period. This suggests that while the population anticipates a negative impact on its ability to spend and save in the short term, overall it is considered that the decision to leave the EU will have a positive impact on job security and the health of the economy.

However, there are key differences in attitudes across demographic groups towards the economy post-Brexit, which follow a similar pattern to the results of the referendum, by age, social grade and region. Older, less affluent demographics generally show a greater level of positivity, whilst London, Scotland and Northern Ireland demonstrate lower levels of confidence, having expressed a stronger desire to remain in the EU.

There are also early indications as to how concerns about disposable income may translate into a reduction in consumer spending. Of greatest concern is spend on home improvements and furnishings. A net six percent of consumers anticipate spending less rather than more on these categories over the next 1-2 years. In addition, housing transactions – long considered a key driver of spend in these categories – may suffer in the short term, with 44% of those planning to buy a property prior to the referendum indicating they are now less likely to buy or move, or are putting all plans on hold.

To a lesser extent, our survey shows that discretionary spend on clothing, eating out, health and beauty, and leisure activities may also suffer post-Brexit. And while on the face of it there appears to be good news for grocery and holiday sectors, as consumers anticipate greater spend on these categories, the declining value of the pound and the resulting pressure on inflation is likely to account for any growth.

Clearly there will be winners and losers during any downturn in the economy, and it is likely that the polarisation between value focused and luxury retailers and brands we have witnessed since the recession will continue. One benefit of the weak pound already being felt is the relative attractiveness of UK goods to overseas customers, and whilst the future of the UK’s access to European markets remains in doubt, in the short term at least, UK exports should thrive.

Jacob Gascoine-Becker