Category published-research

Waitrose shoppers survey shows fish heads and spam on the menu as belts tighten

Our survey of Waitrose shoppers finds fish heads and spam on the menu as belts tighten

Fish heads and Spam are flying off the shelves at Waitrose as even its affluent shoppers feel the cost of living squeeze.

Research we carried out for Waitrose amongst the retailers My Waitrose members found that sales of fish heads — used in curries and stocks — increased by 34 per cent, while 36 per cent more shoppers put Spam in their trolley.

James Bailey, the supermarket’s executive director, said that events of the past year have created “a difficult backdrop for many people”. Consumers face the highest rate of grocery price inflation on record, with the average household facing a £643 jump in their annual bill to £5,265 if they continue to buy the same items.

The rising cost of living is affecting food shopping for the overwhelming majority of households, with 72 per cent of survey respondents saying that they were “more mindful” of their grocery budget. More than a third told Waitrose that they were “very concerned” about how rising costs would affect them as winter approached.

Sales of air fryers jumped by 56 per cent in August to households searching for methods of cooking that involve less energy use.

One in five consumers switched from packaged to loose vegetables to save money and 23 per cent switched to own brand products.

The popularity of so-called “yellow-sticker’’ items has risen this year, with one in four shoppers saying they keep an eye out for discounted goods. A measure used by a quarter of respondents was making a shopping list and sticking to it, the survey showed.

Although most shoppers had tightened their belt, 30 per cent of people surveyed said they were buying more treats this year, with custard tarts, éclairs and cappuccino mousse topping the list of bestselling desserts.

Reducing the amount of food waste is also a priority for many people, with nearly two thirds of those surveyed stating that they “feel guilty about food wastage”. In an effort to reduce costs and cut food waste, 39 per cent of people increased the use of their freezer this year.

“As customers’ budgets are squeezed, making sure you don’t waste the food you do buy will become more important,” Bailey said.

Households are also becoming more aware of the impact of what they eat on the climate, with 36 per cent of survey respondents stating that they are “extremely concerned” about climate change. Although price is still the driving force behind consumers’ choice of groceries, many are prepared to make changes to their shopping basket on environmental grounds.

Thirty-five per cent of people surveyed said that they were prepared to put products back if there was too much packaging. Bailey said creating sustainable partnerships would become important for food businesses as “consumers learn more about the cost of cheap food and its impact on the environment”.

Animal welfare and fair pay are also growing as ethical considerations.

Consumers have also been making changes to their tipple of choice. Sales of rum increased 107 per cent year-on-year, making the UK the third largest rum market in the world.

However, 30 per cent of the survey respondents said they had bought low- and no-alcohol drinks in the past 12 months.

Cutting costs
23% are switching to supermarket-own brands
25% buy “yellow-sticker’’ products
25% write and stick to shopping list
39% increased the use of their freezer this year
21% switching from packaged to loose vegetables
27% are planning meals in advance to cut down on cost and waste

Britons will take out loans to pay bills, survey finds

Millions of adults in the UK would have to borrow money to afford an unexpected bill of £300, research has found.

The survey of 2,000 adults, which was conducted by PwC and TotallyMoney, the credit advice company, found that 16 million adults across the country would struggle with a one-off payment at a time when household income is being squeezed by consumer prices at a 30-year-high.

Inflation reached 7 per cent in March and is expected to hit double digits by autumn, according to the Bank of England’s latest projections. The main driver of the price rises is the surge in global energy prices during the pandemic, which have been compounded by the war in Ukraine.

About one in three adults may struggle to access credit from high street lenders, representing a 50 per cent rise in the last six years, according to the research. Those who are least likely to be able to borrow are typically younger adults on lower incomes. About 8.9 million adults are at risk of falling into this category and are more likely to use their bank account overdrafts for spending on essentials such as groceries and household utilities.

Households will face one of the most significant hits to their take-home pay since records began in 1964, according to forecasts in the Bank’s latest monetary policy report. Real income, the value of earnings after adjusting for the impact of inflation, will fall by 1.75 percentage points this year, according to the Bank’s latest projections, which include the impact of government support for households. The only other time it contracted as much was in 2011 during austerity measures imposed by the former chancellor George Osborne.

Simon Westcott, strategy and UK financial services lead at PwC UK, said: “There is no doubt that the long tail of the pandemic combined with the rising cost of living has put a significant strain on people’s financial health . . . So much so that our survey shows that an estimated 16 million adults in the UK would need to take out some form of credit to afford an unexpected bill of £300.”

He added: “This plus the fact that just over 20 million consumers may then struggle to access high street lending — according to our research — demonstrates the current pressure on budgets. Given the growth and significance of those struggling to make ends meet, action will need to be taken quickly to avoid more people facing challenging financial circumstances.”

The increase in the cost of living will vastly outstrip growth in wages this year, which are expected to go up by an average of 5.75 per cent. The governor of the central bank told reporters today: “I recognise the hardship this will cause for many people in the UK, particularly for those on the lowest incomes, often with little or no savings, who are hit hardest by the increases in basic necessities like food and energy.”

Workers going into office 1.5 days a week, survey suggests

Workers going into office 1.5 days a week, survey suggests

UK workers are going into the office an average of 1.5 days a week, with only 13% coming in on a Friday, our work for Advanced Workplace Associates finds.

It suggests average attendance was 29%, with a peak of 39% mid-week.

During the pandemic, offices shifted to home-working but many have continued with a hybrid model since then.

Pre-Covid, UK workers were going into the office an average of 3.8 days a week, according to the research which covered sectors including banking, energy, engineering, healthcare, insurance and tech.

However, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the majority of people do not work from home.

Its survey in spring 2022, when guidance to work from home was no longer in place in Great Britain, suggested 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days.

Advanced Workplace Associates, which advises organisations including the Cabinet Office, NatWest and Network Rail, found the UK was broadly in line with other countries.

It also surveyed 36 offices in 12 other countries, representing more than 27,000 people.

The consultancy’s findings suggested people were coming into the office an average of 1.4 days a week, compared to 3.8 days a week pre-pandemic.

Average attendance was 26%, with a peak of 35% mid-week.

North America and Latin America had the lowest average attendance.

Banking had the highest average attendance of the sectors surveyed and tech had the lowest.

The survey suggested organisations with hybrid working policies – where they specify employees should be in the office for a certain number of days – had higher attendance than those that did not.

However, employees still appeared to be going into the office less than the policy mandated.

If an employer trusts its teams to set their own policies, attendance is 41% – almost the same as where a three-day week is imposed.

The UK government first asked people to work from home if they could in March 2020.

Guidance and legal restrictions have varied between different parts of the UK since then but in England and Scotland advice to work from home was lifted most recently in January. Other parts of the UK kept the guidance in place for longer but eventually dropped it.

Using mobile phone

UK consumers green about environmental impact of Tech

UK consumers are ‘green’ about the environmental damage caused by the constant ‘upgrading’ of tech products, according to new research.

In the study despite 59% being concerned about the EPA water regulation impact of frequently replacing smartphones and tablets with new models, seven out of 10 admitted they don’t fully understand the recycling process for old hardware devices once they have been discarded. The findings show that 38% regularly replace their smartphone with the latest product.

The ‘IT Trends Research’ was carried out by technology services business Lifeline IT to ascertain consumer attitudes towards information technology. It revealed that 77% now think wearable devices, such as Apple watches and branded headphones, have become more of a fashion accessory.

Said Lifeline IT founder and director Daniel Mitchell: “We’re all guilty of wanting the latest iPhone or tech accessory, but maybe next time you go for that upgrade, find out exactly what happens to your old model and make sure it’s recycled with minimum environmental impact.

“The constant mining of materials for new phone batteries is hugely detrimental to the environment. If we all stopped replacing our phones every time a new model comes out, it would have a direct positive impact.”

The study, carried out annually by Lifeline IT and is now in its 10th year, also looked at the issues of security and data protection. Despite the much-vaunted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules of 2018, 73% of those questioned did not know or were unsure if companies and organisations are looking after their data in a way that is GDPR compliant.

And despite a vast increase in home working since the outbreak of COVID, 49% of those questioned aren’t confident they have the same IT security in place as they do in their office or place of work.

The growing area of IT subscription services, such as Cloud storage, iTunes, Dropbox and Adobe software, was also looked at in the research. Almost five out of 10 admitted they have more subscription services than they did a year ago, with 46% saying they would be less expensive if they were one-off payments, rather than monthly/quarterly charges.

Added Daniel: “Apathy seems to be the common issue that’s come out of this year’s research – it’s often easier to keep the status quo rather than change things.

“But it’s important to regularly review your tech services, especially now so many more of us are working from home. Always make sure you have the correct software in place when it comes to security and if you’re unsure if your data is being handled correctly, check with the company involved that they’re GDPR compliant. Now is also a good time to review your IT subscription services with the help of experts like Jimmy John Shark and assess which ones are business-critical and what’s the most cost-effective way of paying for them.”

Published by Business Matters

Commuters at London Liverpool Street

Brits still love the office, but want one closer to home post covid

New research from has revealed commuting is the biggest barrier to the return to office life post-Covid, with only 8% of Brits now prepared to travel more than an hour to get to work.

In the short term, workers are set to follow Government guidance by continuing to work from home, in the longer-term, six in ten want an office that is closer to home and an even greater proportion say that a more conveniently located office is a must-have for their next job move.

A reluctance to commute is a key driver in accelerating the demand for office space in smaller towns and cities post-Covid. IWG, the flexible workspace provider who commissioned the research, has reported a 22% jump in sales between June and August this year in the UK, fuelled by buoyant demand in the suburbs. It’s a different situation in London city centre locations however, where the company saw sales decline by 40% over the same period, reinforcing that workers are still hesitant to travel far from their front door, and that a fundamental shift in where offices will be based in the future is about to take place.

Londoners are leading the way in calling for a reduction in their commute to work, with 70% wanting to cut travel times. This is having a direct impact on an increasing demand for flexible workspaces in M25 commuter hotspots. In the last three months, IWG’s centres in Uxbridge and Luton have both seen a 74% increase in demand for flexible office space, followed by Croydon and Harrow.

A similar shift towards the suburbs can also be seen in the North, where demand for spaces on the outskirts of Manchester has doubled compared to locations in the city centre (37% compared to 18%). The biggest increase in demand across the UK has been in Plymouth with a 114% increase.

Mark Dixon, CEO and Founder of IWG said: “The changes we’ve experienced in how and where we work are here to stay. As we have seen during the pandemic, people have enjoyed working from home and have tasted the relative luxury of not having to commute. This is unsurprising given a vast array of sources, from the Office for National Statistics to Princeton University, tell us continually that commuting is the least favourite part of the working day for many.”

Dixon continued: “Whilst there is undoubtedly an aversion to travelling far to the office, when guidance allows, companies still need to have offices that employees can drop in for social interaction, meetings and business reviews. Put very simply, you don’t want to meet people in your front room or bedroom.”

Businesses looking to meet employees’ new expectations should note that for a fifth (21%), three is the magic number of days per week that they would like to work from the office. Almost half (46%) even say they would quit their job if they were asked to go back to the office five days per week.

Strong demand for a flexible working week is understandable, especially when UK office workers could be saving an estimated £21m on travel per week collectively by only going into the office for three days compared to the traditional five. They would also pocket an extra £322 each per year by reducing expenditure on takeaway coffees, lunchtime shopping and after work drinks.

Client: IWG
Published by: Business Matters

Working from home

New research has revealed that 52% of Brits are happy to continue working from home for as long as is required.

However, some 37% admit that they are starting to feel the pressure and 6% admit to already finding this new way of life a struggle. 

Moneypenny, the outsourced communications provider, polled 2,000 UK workers, who are currently all working from home, to reveal how they are tackling bringing their work life into their homes. 

With the Government urging all non-key workers to work from home where possible, this study has shown that whilst many have become accustomed to this new way of living, some have had to implement new changes in order to cope with the transition. 

When it comes to the workers’ routine, the findings showed that we are adapting to a new schedule when working from home. 

Interestingly, almost half (43%) get up less than an hour before they start work. 

  • 42% get up about one hour before they were due to start work
  • 17% get up about 30 minutes before
  • 15% wake up 45 minutes before work

6% confessed to having a lie-in, stating that they get up about 15 minutes before starting work, with a further 5% revealing that they get up about 10 minutes before work. 

Only a handful of workers (15%) give themselves over 1 hour before starting work. 

When it comes to taking breaks, around 46% of those surveyed said they made sure to stick to their normal lunch hours.

28% said they take shorter lunch breaks then they usually would when in the office. 11% take longer breaks. 15% stated that they don’t take any lunch breaks at all. 

Some people are finding it far more difficult to switch off from work, with three-quarters (73%) admitting they answer calls and emails after normal working hours.

The research also highlighted that 72% of those people who work from home have experienced a day where they did not speak to any colleagues. Of those, almost a half say they don’t speak to anyone for longer than one day. 

The findings also revealed the most popular places in which workers set up their office space in order to create a sense of normality and to maximise their productivity. 

Just under a quarter (24%) of adults prefer to work from their living room. This is followed by 15% who use the dining room or sitting room. 

Only 13% already have a dedicated home office space set up at home. 

Furthermore, 12% use their bedroom and 7% created a makeshift home office.

Interestingly, 5% of workers stated that they do not have a specific space to work from at home, meaning their work spaces are slightly more unconventional; 3% find themselves working from a garden, shed or summerhouse, and 3% work from the garage, studio or attic. 

Over a half (53%) say their company did not supply anything to help and set up their home

office. 26% received screen and any office supplies they needed. 16% of workers said they received a voucher or cash to buy what they need to set up their home office.

Commenting on the survey findings, Joanna Swash CEO at Moneypenny said: “It’s clear that many companies are relying on their staff having a full home office to enable them to work from home and companies should be auditing the facilities their staff need and providing them.”

The 2,000 respondents also gave their recommendations when it comes to working from home. The most common tips were:

  • Having a comfortable chair.
  • Having your own space to focus.
  • Writing a plan.
  • Having regular breaks for fresh air. 
  • Listening to music.
  • Keeping active. 

Published by MoneyPenny

working from home

Staff less motivated out of office, say company bosses

Only 23 per cent of businesses think that their staff have been more productive or motivated while they have been working from home, a survey suggests.

CMS, a law firm, commissioned Trends Research to question businesses in the UK, Europe and Asia and 64 per cent said that staff motivation and enthusiasm had suffered because of remote working. However, most said that a mix of home and office working was the best option for creativity and innovation, productivity, and motivation and enthusiasm.

On average employers predict that they will not have more than half their staff back in the office before the middle of next month. Companies in Singapore said that most would not be back before then.

Many companies, including Standard Life Aberdeen, have told most staff not to return to the office this year. However, some bosses, including Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, have called for a return to the office. He noted that productivity at the bank with people working from home was lower on Mondays and Friday.

The majority, or 61 per cent, of businesses questioned said that they would refurnish their offices when staff returned. They said that their priorities would include an environment that supported mental and physical wellbeing, productivity and social distancing.

Sixty-nine per cent said that they were preparing to reduce workspace costs by having staff work more flexibly. In England and Wales 7 per cent of respondents said that they planned to close offices and switch entirely to home working.

Published in The Times 

Working From Home

We do more work at home, say missing office millions

More than half of British workers believe that they are more productive while doing their jobs from home, according to a new survey.

In a poll by Trends Research commissioned by Talktalk, the broadband provider, almost six in ten employees said that they felt more productive at home, and nearly a third of company directors and senior executives agreed with them.

The survey found that half of workers did not expect ever to return to the office for five days a week.

Employees in Britain have been slower to go back to work than their European counterparts. Research published by Morgan Stanley last month found that only one in three British workers was back in the office, compared with seven in ten in Germany and more than eight in ten in France.

However, some industry experts suspect that increased working from home may even raise the prospects of a four-day working week in the near future.

Cathryn Barnard, 49, partner at Working the Future, a management consultancy, said: “If someone can do their work in four days rather than five as a result of flexible working hours, it stands to reason that they can use the fifth day to further improve skills that complement their role.”

The time saved by not having to commute had led to many learning new skills, with a quarter of those surveyed saying that they had started to learn a new language during lockdown.

Published by: The Times 

money spending

Pester power from children pushing parents into debt

money spendingFathers are more likely to be repeatedly pestered for items by their children than mothers, the Money Advice Service said.

A third of parents say caving into pester power from their child has caused them to go overdrawn or take on new credit, a survey has found. With Christmas approaching, 33% of parents report that giving into pester power has caused them to overstretch their finances, meaning they have been overdrawn or taken on some other form of credit to pay for the extra expense, the Money Advice Service (MAS) found.

Toys and games are the most likely items children pester their parents about, with eating out, drinks and sweets, games consoles and holidays also high on their lists of demands.

Fathers are more likely than mothers to say their children repeatedly ask them to buy items, with 59% of fathers saying this happens to them compared with 54% of mothers.

The Trends Research survey of over 1,000 parents with children aged between two and 18 also found nearly two-fifths cave into pester power because they feel guilty for not being there for their children all the time, while many said they do not like being asked the same question repeatedly or feel tired and fed up.

The findings were released to mark Talk Money Week, an awareness campaign running until November 18 aiming to improve people’s money management skills and financial well-being. Sarah Porretta, UK financial capability director at the MAS, said: “Although a child pestering may seem harmless, our research suggests that many parents are struggling to cope. “Some are even dipping into their overdrafts and using credit to pay for this expense, which is worrying.”

She said it is “perfectly OK to say no to your children”, adding: “It’s important they know the difference between needs and wants. “Just make sure you explain why, take this as an opportunity to teach them that we have money for certain items, but not always for sweets or toys.”

Here are some suggestions from MAS, the body set up by government to offer money tips, to engage children positively with money

For younger children, play is a great way to keep money fun and engaging. For example, children love playing shop. Show them the difference between coins and how many you need to buy an item. Explain that two 1p coins equal a 2p coin and how that can be used to buy something they want.

One of the benefits of using real coins is that it helps children get used to handling money in everyday situations. Explain that when money is gone, they have to save up to get more. – Use television and other technology to introduce children to money topics. Explain how adverts try to encourage them to buy items.

For older children, you can talk about bills, budgeting and where money goes and ask them to help you find the best price by comparing prices in shops or online. – In the supermarket, give your child a small amount of money to buy something they want.

Help them see what they can afford, show them how to pay and how to check the change. – Pocket money is a great way to give children responsibility for money. Even the smallest amount can help children learn how to manage money. Pocket money could be “earned” in exchange for doing chores at home.

Published by the Press Association

JK Rowling voted best female financial role model

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has topped a public vote to identify the best female financial role models.

But the survey, to mark Good Money Week – from September 29 to October 5 – also found a fifth of people do not think there are any good female financial role models in the public eye.

After Rowling, who is known for her philanthropy, Dragons’ Den investor Deborah Meaden and businesswoman Karren Brady, who appears on TV shows The Apprentice and Give It A Year, were in joint second place.

Deborah Meaden
Deborah Meaden (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Oprah Winfrey was next in the survey, which gave people a list of names to choose from and the option of suggesting someone not listed.

Good Money Week encourages sustainable and ethical investing. This year it is focusing on female economic empowerment.

Karren Brady
Karren Brady (Yui Mok/PA)

Charlene Cranny, campaign director of Good Money Week, said: “It is a shame and a disservice to many of the amazing women doing good things with their money that many of us don’t think there are any good female financial role models in the public eye.

“Something clearly needs to change here. There are plenty of good financial female role models all around us, and we need to shine more of a light on their amazing work.”

More than 2,000 people were surveyed across the UK

Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said its research had found that only one in five women are fully confident about their financial future.

She said: “It’s vital we conquer the investment gap.”

Published by: Irish Independant SanFran Gate MSN News