Majority of retailers predict slowdown in customer spending

Two-thirds of retailers (64%) predict customer spending will slow down and that this will become one of their biggest challenges for 2023, according to a recent kbbreview survey.

The cost of products, with supplier price increases being passed on to retailers, is also a worry for retailers. Many retailers told kbbreview that consumers are still looking to buy a kitchen or bathroom, but are finding the cost too expensive.

“My biggest fear is that we will see a deep recession in 2023,” said one bathroom retailer. “And that this will cause a substantial drop in consumer confidence and, therefore, purchasing habits.”

Another said: “I worry that interest in our products and footfall through our showroom is going to stop because people simply decide to hold off on what is considered a ‘luxury’ purchase, to enable them to pay their bills.”

The kbbreview Insight 2023 survey polled top retailers across the UK. Other concerns mentioned included product shortages, rising costs, supplier prices and the lack of fitters.

One more optimistic retailer said: “We don’t operate in fear. We are a company that always looks on the bright side and always pushes forward despite the situation. We are just disappointed in the state of the economy and that it might stunt our growth through no fault of our own.”

Another said: “Much like we all got through the Covid lockdowns, this is about managing our own mind-set. Keeping focused and keeping our energy high, even when times are tough.”

When asked to rate their confidence about business during 2023, retailers gave a score of six out of 10. The mid-level confidence is down to the unpredictability of the market and retailer concern that, because of wavering consumer confidence, they would struggle to convert estimates to sales in 2023.

Retailer confidence levels varied from region to region, with many of those trading in areas where consumers are generally less affected by financial downturns more confident about 2023 than others.

One bathroom retailer said: “In previous years, we would have said nine or 10, but because this year, going into 2023, has us most concerned about the economy, it has to be seven.”

Another KBB retailer said: “We’re cautious because of growing uncertainty with the cost-of-living crisis and a forlorn Government that doesn’t seem to be able to guide us through it. It would be unrealistic not to be a little cautious.”

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