The economic direction of 2018

economy 2018

Christmas is over, the new year has begun, resolutions have been made (and broken) and it is now time to think about your commercial plans for 2018. As consumers we have heard it all before, we either aren’t spending enough or we’re spending more than we should. This occurs in a variety of areas, whether it be clothing, food or luxury products.

In the beginning of a new year, it is often that we reflect on the past, whilst also looking to the future; this year is no exception. 2017 was, in many ways, a year filled with insecurity, from the slow paced Brexit negotiations, to the rise in income tax and geopolitical instability. According to Forbes, there is a possibility that 2018 could take a turn for the worst regarding sharp customer cutback. The relation between economic predictions and customer behaviour can prove to be a vicious circle. On one hand, bad economic predictions negatively influence customer behaviour and on the other, negative customer behaviour poorly influences the economy.

Regardless of our personal financial situation, consumers tend to spend more money on non-essential items when the economic outlook for the year ahead appears positive. Consequently, considering consumer behaviour data can be key when analysing the direction of the economy.

As a Mystery Shopping company, Retail Maxim is in an optimal position to understand and analyse customer behaviour, so we thought we would ask you a few questions on the matter:

How much do you think you’ll spend this year on non-essential items such as clothing, holidays and technology etc compared to last year?


A lot more 25 2.45%
A little more 135 13.25%
About the same 612 60.06%
A little less 154 15.11%
A lot less 93 9.13%


How do you feel generally about the economic outlook for 2018?

Positive 119 17.25%
Neutral / No Change 323 46.81%
Negative 248 35.94%


In your opinion, do you think the Brexit negotiations are going well?


Yes 140 21.47
No 512 78.53


The outcome of our poll produced some very interesting results. Many of you, 60% to be precise, believe you will be spending the same amount as last year, proposing the general feeling towards the economic scene is stationary, with almost 47% thinking there will be no significant economic changes in 2018. These results are, in a way, positive, as a stationary situation suggests that consumers may not be concerned about spending their money, indirectly helping the economy as a result.

However, in contrast to this, the alternative of every poll is that a significant percentage (36%), believes the opposite to be true, indicating that many of those who took part, actually believe the economic outlook for 2018 will be negative. The percentage is likely to be linked with a startling 79% of you worrying about Brexit negotiations and the potential negative impact on life, post EU.  

The concern surrounding Brexit negotiations and the possible geopolitical instability ahead can affect customer behaviour in ways the poll cannot anticipate. The only accurate way of finding out what the future holds, is to move forward. What are your thoughts on the economic climate in 2018? Let us know in the comments.