UK Consumers Across Income Brackets

What the Pandemic Meant for Tech, Media, and Spending Habits

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About This Report
The pandemic super-charged digital habits in the UK, particularly among higher-income groups. These people are also in a better place financially as pandemic restrictions lift, but there’s pent-up desire to spend across all income brackets.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The pandemic increased digital engagement while putting household finances under pressure across all income brackets. However, affluents saw a particular digital bump, while their cash concerns weren’t quite as pronounced.

How big are the different income categories in the UK?

There are 15.2 million low-income individuals in the UK earning less that £20,000 ($25,527) per year and a further 15.5 million at the other end of the scale earning more than £45,000 ($57,435). In the more populous middle-income group, there are 35.0 million people.

How do different income groups engage with tech and media?

Higher-income individuals have more devices and tend to use them more. As a result, their time spent online outstrips that of low-income individuals. Those with fewer devices tend to rely on mobile as their main conduit to getting online. And while low-income individuals have tended to consume less digital media in general, the pandemic did give their time spent a bump.

How has consumer financial health affected spending habits?

Average disposable income dipped during the pandemic, but thanks in large part to government initiatives to protect employment, current income levels are broadly in line with pre-pandemic figures. And while those on lower incomes struggled to save, there’s still evidence of pent-up desire to spend. There’s greater intention to spend on big-ticket items among affluents, though.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report assesses the digital habits of people in different income brackets in the UK. It also examines how the pandemic affected their financial health and how spending patterns changed as a result.

KEY STAT: The pandemic led to a 3.2% drop in UK household and gross disposable income, to £369.9 billion ($472.1 billion) in Q2 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, the dip in consumption expenditure was far deeper, falling 20.8% to £277.2 billion ($353.8 billion) in the same period.

Here’s what’s in the full report

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Demographic Data: Classifications and Market Sizing
    3. Technology and Media Use: More Money Means More Devices and More Engagement
    1. Spending Behaviors: There’s a Pent-Up Desire to Spend, Particularly Among Affluents
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    1. Read Next
    2. Sources
    3. Media Gallery

    Charts in This Report

    Interviewed for This Report

    Jonny Whitehead
    Skyrise Intelligence
    Board Director
    Interviewed July 13, 2021
    Richard Thomas
    Future plc
    Insight Director
    Interviewed July 15, 2021
    Sarah Rew
    LoopMe
    Senior Director, Global Marketing
    Interviewed July 20, 2021

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    authors

    Bill Fisher

    Contributors

    Angela Kim
    Senior Researcher
    Victoria Petrock
    Principal Analyst
    Debra Aho Williamson
    Principal Analyst