Belfast Telegraph

Majority of consumers won't change habits after rise in VAT

By Josie Clarke

Just over half of consumers say a rise in VAT will not change their spending habits, according to a survey.

Shoppers are more concerned about the rise in everyday living than the cost of highly priced items, the poll for mystery shopping company Retail Eyes found.

It found 52% of customers did not expect to alter their spending following a VAT hike in January from 17.5% to 20%.

More than a third of consumers (38%) said they expected to make extra purchases before the VAT rise, with 66% of those planning to buy electrical goods such as televisions and radios and 24% looking at buying white goods.

But 40% of shoppers were concerned by the rising cost of petrol, while 26% were worried by the increase in grocery prices.

Marketing manager Simon Boydell said: "It appears from our survey results that consumers haven't made a conscious decision yet as to whether the VAT rise will change their spending.

"With recent news from the British Retail Consortium claiming consumer confidence has fallen for the first time in a year, this should come as some relief to retailers.

"But there is still a lot of uncertainty among shoppers, so retailers do need to consider ways to entice consumer spending both before and after the rise on January 4."