Roaring ’20s, take two: Life returns to the high street

AS THE pandemic’s disruption fades, new patterns in consumer behaviour are taking shape.

Increases in spending at the start of this year, coupled with the acceleration of GDP throughout 2021, suggest that Britons are set to re-live some aspects of the Roaring Twenties, characterised by a surging economy and mass consumerism.

Data from financial comparison platform suggests that business booms in-line with consumer spending. Demand for commercial property insurance increased by 45 percent in the last six months of 2021. And just as in the 1920s, there has been a boom in entrepreneurship and creativity, largely led by high street businesses.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that consumer demand in January was concentrated on homeware shops, restaurants, and clothing stores. Quotezone data seems to agree that the driving force is demand for retail outlets. Office space, not so much: demand has fallen by 83 percent in the past six months.

Quotezone founder Greg Wilson believes positive trends are emerging in post-pandemic Britain. “It’s encouraging to see such strong retail sales, even in light of rising living costs,” he says. “The spike in consumer demand is hopefully a sign that we’re entering our century’s very own Roaring Twenties.

“It’s interesting that demand for office space has continued to drop dramatically, even though restrictions have been easing for several months. It reflects the continued popularity of working from home. As the 1920s, a major change in lifestyle is here to stay, with a focus on the work-life balance.

“But consumers must remain vigilant. Many will face challenges in the coming months, particularly with rising energy and transport prices, so it is important to get value for money and find savings where possible.”

He advises a review of direct debits, and selling or repurposing household items that are no longer needed. “Shopping around is key.”