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Wales braced for Brexit as a quarter change spending patterns

26% of Welsh people are avoiding big purchases or putting more into savings in case Brexit bites

KPMG UK research finds that just over a quarter (26%) of people in Wales have changed their spending as a result of Brexit uncertainties. More than one in ten (13%) have put more money into their savings, while one in 20 (6%) have delayed a holiday due to Brexit.

Nationally, the research shows that 30% of the UK public have changed their spending and a fifth (22%) have avoided making big ticket purchases. Almost one in ten (9%) are missing out on overseas holidays and 6% are avoiding investing in the economy via stocks & shares. Meanwhile, 8% of people have put more money into savings ‘just in case’.

Simon Jones, senior partner for KPMG in Wales, comments: “The change in spending habits among a quarter of those surveyed in Wales is not insignificant – it is clear that people are uncertain about the future, spending and investing less while saving more. Interestingly, people in Wales are among the least cautious about spending money on foreign holidays compared to the rest of the country, while they’re most cautious about saving more. However, whilst people work to protect their finances from Brexit uncertainties, interest rates remain stubbornly low so savings aren’t really working for people.

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“The business world has been cautious about investing for growth since the referendum and that’s clearly playing through into the real economy and people’s financial confidence.”

KPMG has also found that across the UK men are much more cautious about their money in light of Brexit than women, with over a third (35%) of men changing their money management and only one in four (25%) women doing the same. Twelve percent of men have delayed buying a new home or making renovations, almost double the number of women who have taken the same precautions (7%). Whilst 3% of men have admitted to changing wedding plans amid Brexit uncertainty, women aren’t letting Brexit interfere with their upcoming nuptials, as none said they had put a wedding on hold.

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Linda Ellett, UK Head of Consumer Markets, KPMG UK adds:

“These figures bring to light just how much Brexit has impacted people’s everyday lives. We can see this in the way that people are delaying significant purchases such as new cars or foreign holidays. When looking at travel and holidays in particular, fears around flight paths and border controls are clearly playing out in people’s actions, and of course the fall in the value of sterling won’t have done much to entice people overseas either. For these consumer businesses, the focus has to be on remaining agile so as to ride this wave of uncertainty. Those that can achieve this may even benefit from pent up demand when clarity finally does return to both businesses and consumers.”

Brexit fears are affecting younger people’s spending the most, as almost half (46%) of 18 to 34 year-olds have delayed big purchases or put more money into savings. Those aged 35 and over have focussed more on saving ahead of Brexit while those over 55 are the least fazed, with only one in five (19%) having changed their spending habits at all. Parents with young children are also amongst the most concerned, with foreign holidays (15%), new cars (14%) and home renovations (10%) being most commonly sacrificed.

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