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Cashing in or Checking out: what does the future hold for consumers?

9 December 2016

‘Cashing in or Checking out: what does the future hold for consumers?’ [ 350 kb]

On 29th November, Citizens Advice held an event to discuss what the future holds for consumers. Already technological innovations have had a major impact across consumer markets, and this is set to continue.

Recent Citizens Advice research, Consumer detriment: counting the cost of consumer problems, has revealed that consumers currently experience £23 billion of detriment each year - that’s £446 per UK adult. These problems also take time to solve, with consumers spending an average of 24 hours fixing problems with goods or services.

But we know that consumer markets are set to experience unprecedented change over the next decade. Our recent report, The Disrupted Decade, explores these changes in detail for the energy market.

Bringing together the findings from both reports, this event discussed how consumers navigate markets today and how this may change in the future. This paper summarises the discussions and key themes raised at the event:

  1. Consumers experience detriment in varying ways

  2. New technology needs to be accessible to all

  3. More information could make levels of engagement worse

  4. Consumer choice doesn’t necessarily mean consumer savings

  5. Cross-sector solutions are increasingly important

This paper also summarises the presentations given by Ian Mulheirn of Oxford Economics and Victoria MacGregor of Citizens Advice.