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The Extent of UK Goods Shortages

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At least so far, the majority of Brits haven’t been directly affected by the goods shortages caused in part by a chronic shortage in lorry drivers in the country. Nevertheless, almost a quarter report having been unable to purchase their desired non-essential food items in the past two weeks. That’s according to a nationally representative survey at the end of September/beginning of October by the Office for National Statistics.

More worrying, but so far less common, essential food items, fuel and medicine were not able to be bought by 17, 15 and 3 percent of respondents, respectively. When asked if they were able to find a replacement product, 20 percent of respondents said they were unable to do so, while 20 percent found an acceptable alternative. Looking at the situation more generally, 43 percent reported noticing less variety in the shops than usual, while 14 percent were forced to visit more shops to get what they needed.

This so far hasn’t caused a bricks and mortar exodus though, with the survey suggesting only 4 percent have resorted to shopping online for what they would usually buy from a physical store – presumably partly due to the type of products dealt with in the survey.

This chart shows the share of GB adults that reported experiencing difficulties buying certain goods in the UK in autumn 2021.

gb survey goods shortages by type

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