As consumer confidence returns, businesses need to remain competitive

At last, consumers are displaying signs of being ready to spend again and are more likely to make larger purchases. In our latest blog, CEO Noel Corcoran looks at what smaller businesses can do to win their share of the market.

Following years of mostly negative forecasting, retailers and other businesses across the UK can at last take some comfort from recent findings which suggest very strongly that consumer confidence might just be on the up.

The latest data from consumer behaviour thinktank, GfK, reflects a continuing improvement in how people feel about their personal finances. GfK’s long-running consumer confidence index shows that consumers are generally feeling more optimistic and, crucially for many businesses, are much more likely than they were a year ago to make larger purchases.

At Ideal4Finance, we work closely with businesses across the UK, partnering with them to enable them to offer finance to their customers. From our daily conversations with them, we are very aware of the challenges they have faced over recent years and, as their finance provider, we also know when things are looking up. 

Looking at our loans activity over the last three months, we are definitely seeing an upturn in spending across all sectors, from home improvements (windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms etc) right through to luxury retail (jewellery and classic watches).

Outdoor and garden-related businesses, particularly landscaping, garden buildings and hot tubs, are doing well, and we are seeing a huge demand for solar and renewables. We are also financing growing number of purchases of furniture, family portraiture, cosmetic treatments and training.

Whilst there are clearly still lingering concerns over the economy, this latest GfK data has to be welcome news for any businesses selling goods and services over £1000, and they need to be ready to take advantage of this upturn.

The larger nationals might have the advantage of size and purchasing power, but smaller independents can capitalise on their more personal approach, friendlier service and, crucially nowadays, being the local choice. These are very positive messages to convey to potential customers.

Offering flexible payment options is another way for smaller businesses to compete effectively.

Despite feeling more optimistic, consumers still want to make sensible purchasing decisions and very often prefer affordable monthly payments. That’s why a hassle-free finance facility can be such a game-changer in times like these.

Noel Corcoran, CEO

Click here to see the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index

Click here to read our latest case study on how a UK hot tub retailer benefited from a finance facility