The highest number of shoppers since records began have "no spare cash" to spend, it has been revealed.
Statistics released in the latest Consumer Confidence Survey today (2nd February) by the Nielsen Company have found that nearly a third of shoppers reported they have no disposable income to indulge in high street purchases. The survey began in 2005.
The index revealed 27% of people have no spare cash, which works out at the proportion of six percentage points higher at the end of 2010 than a year earlier.
Chris Morley, Nielsen UK group managing director, said he expects consumers' anxiety over the cost of everyday goods to deepen throughout 2011 because household income will not keep up with the rise in living costs.
"We anticipate a consumer who continues to feel the pinch, who has major concerns about meeting the cost of essentials and basic living expenses—such as food, household bills and fuel—and a consumer who will continue to employ strategies to make savings."
The Consumer Confidence Index rose two points to 77 in quarter four compared to the previous quarter of 2010, because the public felt slightly more positive about their job prospects, their personal finances and they felt less negative about spending.
This was reflected in the index by a 2% hike to 22% in the number of people who thought job prospects would be "excellent" or 'good' in 2011, and a one point increase in those who believed their personal finances would also be
However, the survey revealed only 14% of people believed Britain would be out of a recession in the next 12 months.
The British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "A significant and permanent strengthening of consumer confidence is clearly some way off."