One Year On and Spending Power of NI Families Drops by 21.1%

The latest figures from Asda’s Income Tracker reveal that while the discretionary income of the average Northern Ireland household has shown a slight increase to £100 per week in Q1 (£98 in Q4/2022) – this represents a drop of 21.2% when compared to the same period last year.

This is the seventh consecutive quarter that NI has recorded the largest year-on-year decline in income of any region across the UK.

In real terms this means NI families are £27 per week worse off than they were a year ago – or a shortfall of £116 across the month.

This is the largest fall of any UK region, although the scale of the decline was smaller in magnitude than those witnessed in in Q2, Q3 and Q4 of 2022.

The figures were revealed in the latest Income Tracker which is independently compiled for Asda by Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research).

In direct comparison to NI, the discretionary income of the average UK family stood at £213 per week in Q1 – £22 per week (9.2%) less than the same period the previous year – highlighting the full impact of the cost of living crisis on spending power across the UK.

At a regional level, Northern Ireland’s performance compares starkly to the rest of the UK, most notably, Scotland which has displayed the most resilience. In Q1 the average Scottish family had £220 per week at its disposal – £7 above the UK average.

Families living in London have the most disposable income at £277 per week.

Explaining the context, Sam Miley, Cebr Snr Economist and Income Tracker author said:

“Northern Ireland remained at the bottom of the table for discretionary income in Q1 2023, with average household spending power of just £100 per week.

“Though there was a quarterly improvement, assisted by policy measures such as the Energy Bill Support Scheme, households are still in a much weaker position than this time a year ago, as price growth lingers across a range of key consumption categories.

“Food price inflation is particularly stark at present, causing many Northern Irish households to cut back or seek cheaper alternatives.”

Asda continues to support families during the cost-of-living crisis by keeping prices in check and launching new propositions to provide customers with more value each time they shop. It remains the best-value traditional supermarket, having been named the cheapest grocer for a big family shop by Which? every month for the last three years.

The supermarket has locked the price of over 500 family-favourite branded and own-label lines to give families more control and certainty over their shopping budgets.

Asda is also offering customers the chance to earn cash which can be spent in store by signing up to its new Asda Rewards loyalty programme. More than four million customers are using the programme each month and have already accrued £70m in their ‘cashpots’ which they can spend in store or online to reduce their grocery bills.