13 million households “dependent on discounts”
Millions of households across the country are relying on discounts and cashback to survive, according to a report by TopCashback.co.uk and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The study found that a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers said they would not be able to afford most or all of their necessities each week without the help of discounts.
The Discount Dependency Report determined consumers’ level of discount dependency by the percentage they save on necessities each week with the help of discounts and splits consumers into three cohorts; discount dependent, discount supported and discount independent.
About half (47 per cent) of households are discount dependent, which is equivalent to 13 million households across the UK.
However, a further 6.8 million households (24 per cent) are discount supported and still rely on the savings they make from discounts to support them in other ways, such as with paying household bills.
Most consumers who fall into the discount dependent cohort also fall into the squeezed middle or “just about managing” group. These consumers are likely to be in skilled manual jobs, earning between £20,000 and £30,000, yet find their outgoings regularly outweigh their income. As a result, they look to discounts to cover the shortfall.
Highlighting the difference discounts can make, Topcashback said consumers spend an average £67 a week on groceries but save roughly £52 by using discounts, meaning without them consumers would be spending as much as £119 on their weekly shop.
Adam Bullock, UK director of TopCashback.co.uk, said: “Since launching TopCashback 13 years ago, we have seen the demand for discounts and cashback grow immensely. However, our report shows that this growth in the discount industry does not necessarily mean consumers are able to put the savings in their back pockets.
“The UK is in a confusing, financially uncertain period which is putting even more pressure on the squeezed middle who are already struggling to make ends meet, which highlights the importance of discounts to consumers.”
The report found there is a significant disparity in the reliance on discounts across the UK with London households being substantially more discount dependent.
More than a third (36 per cent) of Londoners have been unable to buy necessities at least once in the last year because they did not have access to discounts. The next highest score was 26 per cent in the south-east and north-west.
Just three in 10 (29 per cent) consumers are discount independent. However, although they are not reliant on discounts to afford essentials, it does not mean they do not use discounts at all. A third (32 per cent) of consumers put the money they save by using discounts towards other household essentials such as food and utility bills.