Spending to drop as Article 50 is triggered; Make your Customer Experience centre stage during an uncertain period

March 29, 2017

As negotiations formally begin following Britain’s official exit from the EU, Maru/edr’s MD Liz Boffey takes a look at exclusive real-time consumer confidence results and what the next few months has in store for British business.

The trigger of Article 50 today marks the start of an uncertain period for business in Britain.

Questions over markets and the cost of products and services means that competing on price alone over the next six months will be challenging for even the biggest brands.

Instead, businesses will be competing on customer experience more than they ever have done before.

What does it mean for me?

UK consumers expect to cut their spending over the next six months following the trigger of Article 50 in Brussels today.

Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, hand-delivered a six-page letter from Theresa May to EU Council President Donald Tusk to formally begin divorce proceedings.

A real-time poll from Maru/edr in the moments immediately after the news broke uncovered that half (49%) of British consumers expect to cut their spending over the next six months, marking a difficult time for brands and business ahead.

Where spending cuts will hit the hardest

Unsurprisingly, non-essential items – such as clothing, holidays, electrical goods and leisure and dining activities – will likely see the biggest fall in consumer spending in the immediate aftermath after March 29th.


A staggering 73% of those surveyed by Maru/edr declared that they are currently cautious about spending. With no formal plans currently laid out by the government, respondents are concerned about what the next two years may bring and will likely alter their spending habits as a result.

Almost all of those surveyed believe that costs across all industries will increase as we as a nation wait for answers about the exchange rate, access to the single market and trade negotiations.

One third (33%) of those surveyed see holidays and travel becoming a lot more expensive over the next six months, while 28% expect to see a big rise in fuel costs.

The time to shine

The next two years will absolutely mark an uncertain time for Britain – but heading into the unknown shouldn’t be shrouded in darkness.

Customer experience can sometimes struggle to get onto board agendas – our experience tells us that while bosses often talk of great experiences, finances can ultimately come first.

But now is the time to shine – customer experience and fantastic, action-based insight has the ability to drive business forward during these next few months.

Research Executive Tyren Copper recently shared thoughts on how brands can get ahead during Brexit – and how the power of insight has the ability to make key strategic decisions when product, price, place and promotion have never been so key to success.

Results shown are taken from Maru/edr’s real-time poll of 200 British consumers completed in the moments after Article 50 was officially triggered (12:30pm on March 29th). These results demonstrate a snapshot of current consumer thinking. As well as real-time surveys, Maru/edr will also be tracking the effect of Article 50 via large-scale Voice of the Customer programmes for clients at home and aboard.

Liz Boffey is Managing Director at Maru/edr with a wealth of client-side insight experience. Continue to the debate with Liz by contacting her directly on liz.boffey@maruedr.com or connect on LinkedIn.