Consumer confidence improving but over half of UK people worry they will not have enough money to retire comfortably

Article date: 26 February 2014

  • UK consumers (55%) worry they will not have enough money to retire comfortably
  • However, just under one in five consumers (18%) say they do not hold any form of savings or long term investment product
  • Only 16% plan to put more into pensions and retirement savings next year
  • For the first time in three years consumers’ confidence in the economy is higher than confidence in household finances

Data released by Aviva today shows that over half (55%) of UK consumers worry that they will not have enough money to provide an adequate standard of living when they retire, with 18% of consumers saying they do not hold any form of savings or long term investment products. Almost the same proportion of consumers (49%), think they will have to work beyond the normal retirement age.

The findings are the result of the latest edition of Aviva’s Consumer Attitudes to Savings (CAS) survey which asks people for their views on saving, financial planning and financial priorities. It represents the views of 13,000 consumers in twelve countries, and offers market overviews as well as UK regional analysis.

For the first time in three years consumers’ confidence in the economy has surpassed confidence in household finances:  

  • Net confidence [1] among UK consumers in the general economic outlook, whilst still negative, has risen by 26 points from -33 to -7 percentage points over the past 12 months.
  • Meanwhile, net optimism over UK household finances only grew by 7 points to -11 percentage points over the same.

So, whilst economic confidence is growing, people’s confidence in improvements of their own household finances is increasing much more slowly.

According to the data, these levels of concern are having an impact on consumer spending. Over two thirds of UK consumers (71%) are cutting back on discretionary spending such as eating out in restaurants (51%), holidays (46%), and clothing (46%).

Just under one third of UK consumers (34%) feel that they are ‘just about getting by’ financially; with 14% saying they are finding it difficult to cope with household finances.

Commenting on this research, Tim Orton, Pensions and Investment Product Director at Aviva said; “Since the financial crisis the pressures on UK household budgets have become stronger and have affected more families, leading them to cut back on savings, and it is understandable that some are unable to save.

“Our research reveals widespread concern about having an insufficient income in retirement and many seem resigned to working longer.

“We can take some comfort from the fact that, while UK confidence in the general economic outlook is still in the negative territory, it has reached its highest level since 2010.  But this rising confidence is not mirrored in people’s confidence in their own finances and it is vital people save for retirement and protect themselves from life’s uncertainties.” 

Across Europe, the latest survey shows that consumers remain similarly concerned about their own financial resilience.

Unexpected expenses (57%), such as home repairs, and increases in the price of basic necessities (52%) are the two primary financial concerns for European consumers.  As a result, over half of European consumers surveyed are cutting back on discretionary spending.

Financial constraints have an impact on Europeans’ long-term planning. While two-thirds of consumers have some type of savings product, only 38% of those surveyed in six European markets said they were taking steps to ensure they have an adequate level of income in retirement. Meanwhile, almost half of the pre-retired Europeans surveyed (49%) expect to work beyond their normal retirement age to fund their retirement.

Confidence in the general economy and household finances is improving slowly. Although net economic confidence remains low at -24 percentage points, the six percentage point improvement may be a sign of an initial recovery in European consumers’ confidence across the region.

Download the full Consumer Attitude Survey report PDF (1.1MB)

View all the reports for the Consumer Attitudes Survey 2014



[1] Net confidence is consumers saying ‘it will get better’ minus those saying ‘it will get worse’.

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Fiona Whytock: Aviva Press Office: 01904 452659: 07800 692299:

Notes to editors

  1. The twelve markets surveyed as part of the Aviva Consumer Attitudes Survey were the USA, the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Turkey, China, India, Singapore and Indonesia in November 2013
  2. The six European countries surveyed were Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Poland and the UK. Together they represent over half the population of the European Union
  3. Aviva’s Consumer Attitudes Survey surveys 13,000 consumers across 12 countries since 2004
  4. 1,000 consumers in the UK were surveyed as part of this work
  5. In each EU country a sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ were surveyed online in November 2013. Data have been weighted to the known profile of the adult population of each country
  6. Fieldwork was undertaken by Ipsos on behalf of Aviva between October 24th and November 8th 2013.

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