The Recession’s Impact on the UK

The Recession’s Impact on the UK

It is now accepted wisdom that the recession has essentially come to an end.  And as it recedes, observers are beginning to look at the damage wrought as well as how retailers, manufacturers and consumers changed their behavior.  A new report from The Nielsen Company, “Reading the Recession,” reveals how the recession has affected the leading brands, consumer behavior and job vacancies.  Using key economic indicators, consumer research, recruitment data, web site measurement and advertising spend, Nielsen has analyzed the impact of the recession on the UK and identified sectors showing early signs of recovery.

Some key findings include:

Advertising: Some advertisers actually increased their ad spending during the first twelve months of the UK recession (July 2008 to June 2009).  Grocer ASDA increased its spending 40 percent during this period, while the government’s Central Office of Information boosted spending by 33 percent to back campaigns about the dangers of smoking and drinking, the HPV vaccine and swine flu.  Meanwhile, a number of big brands cut their ad budgets significantly: P&G was down 15 percent, Toyota off 57 percent and Tiscali, an internet service, down 92 percent.  With the exceptions of Audi and Seat, auto manufacturers all cut spending, from Hyundai (-6%) to Lexus (-66%).

Jobs: Total job vacancies – both online and in print – dropped from about one million in January 2007 to approximately 500,000 in September 2009.  The number of jobs in IT, secretarial, construction and sales has each fallen by more than 50 percent between July 2008 and June 2009.  Positions within education, social services and hospitals/medial have been the least affected, with the latter actually showing a year-on-year growth of around two percent.

Consumers: British consumers continue to be frugal when it comes to shopping. Two-thirds said that they planned to spend less on clothes, while 59 percent said that they are looking to save on gas and electric bills.  Both of those figures are a slight improvement from surveys conducted earlier this year.

“Despite some confidence returning, a legacy of the recession will be the desire amongst consumers to continue to spend less on both grocery brands and financial service products.  Many leading brands have adapted well to this change in consumer behavior to date, but the real test will be how they cope with this intent long term,” said Nikki Williams, UK Managing Director at Nielsen’s Media division.

Read the full press release.