Prices across the UK economy rose at the fastest rate in three years in June, official data released Wednesday showed, as Brits spent on clothes and meals out as the economy reopened.
The UK consumer prices index rose 2.5% in the year to June 2021, from 2.1% in May. It was the highest reading since August 2018 and above economists’ expectations for a 2.2% increase.
Britain’s Office for National Statistics said prices rose in particular for food, second-hand cars and clothing in the year to June, as well as for eating and drinking out and motor fuel.
“Some of the increase is from temporary effects, for example rising fuel prices which continue to increase inflation, but much of this is due to prices recovering from lows earlier in the pandemic,” Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said.
When looked at month-on-month, CPI inflation rose 0.5% in June 2021 compared to 0.6% in May.
The pound was up 0.3% after the figures were released at $1.385, while London’s FTSE 100 was fell 0.44% at the open. Yields on 2-year government bonds rose 2 basis points on the day to 0.12%, nearing their highest in three weeks.
The stronger-than-expected inflation figures pose a challenge for the Bank of England which, like many central banks around the world, has insisted strong inflation will be temporary.
On Tuesday, data showed US inflation rose by more than anticipated to a 13-year high in June, with prices across the economy jumping 5.4% year-on-year.
Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said June’s UK inflation figures came as a surprise. But he added: “We think this surge in inflation will be temporary, which means the Bank of England won’t tighten policy in response.”
Dales said: “We suspect CPI inflation could climb towards 4% around the turn of the year, which would be higher than the 3% peak expected by the Bank and most forecasters.
“But this will probably be a temporary spike related to reopening effects and the previous gains in commodity and component costs. As such, we are not expecting the Bank to respond by tightening policy in either 2021 or 2022, and probably not 2023 too.”
I get pitched a lot by publicists, agents, and agencies for this column. Because I often use the behavior of certain people or companies as a jump-off point for articles, it makes sense that PR professionals would seek out similar coverage for their clients.
Publicists and account reps have many different resources for building their network, and an increasingly popular approach is to join and participate in online communities such as PR-focused Facebook groups. I’m in a few of these myself to stay informed, and the other day I saw a passing post that mentioned some new LGBTQ-related research. I’m always interested in seeing and referencing new data-backed studies, so I commented and asked for the press release.
I thought I wrote, “Feel free to send that report my way.” But from the looks of my inbox the past few weeks, perhaps I blacked out and actually said something more along the lines of “Open Sesame!” because the number of pitches I’ve received lately has been bonkers.
Brand after brand has forwarded me their “revolutionary” new campaign in which they’ve printed a rainbow version of their product and are giving a portion of proceeds to an LGBTQ-focused charity. I’ll certainly never turn my nose up at a company’s charitable giving efforts. But I’m also worried. For many of these companies, a rainbow version of their product for the month of June feels both performative and – dare I say it – lazy.
We know that we exist. So we want to see more than awareness in your pridemarketing; we want to see allyship and innovation. Here are a few ideas on what that could look like – and why companies should care.
Consumer psychology has changed
Consumers increasingly look to where a brand stands on topics of social justice to determine their loyalty. Your customers and clients want to follow your company and buy your product not only for what it does but also for what you stand for.
We all like to purchase from companies that get us. And according to polling data from Gallup, the roar of both the LGBTQ community and economy is only getting louder. Highlights from that data include:
5.6% of Americans identifying as LGBTQ, up from 4.5% in 2017,
9.1% of millennials identifying as LGBTQ, with about half of that population identifying as bisexual, and
Nearly 16% of Gen Z identifying as LGBTQ, with 72% of that population identifying as bisexual. 1.8% of Gen Z identifies as transgender.
Translation? Queer people exist, and younger people identify as queer in greater numbers. Oppression efforts continue to run rampant, so we need your help.
As of this writing, 17 anti-transgender bills have already been signed into law this year, per a press release from the Human Rights Campaign. The impact these bills will have on trans youth is staggering; a University of Arizona study found that trans youth experience far higher suicide attempt rates, but an affirmation of their identity and pronouns by parents can greatly reduce this number.
Financial data on the LGBTQ community also paints a complex picture. Mainstream stereotypes depict queer people as lavish and fabulous. But overall, LGBTQ people are more likely to experience socioeconomic inequality, according to a demographics report from UCLA.
As you create awareness for the LGBTQ community during pride month, take time in your messaging to give context. Share with your audience about the current challenges we face as well as where your company stands.
How to attract loyal customers who promote you on their behalf
If pride marketing feels like walking on eggshells this year, here are a few steps you can take that are largely guaranteed to make a difference.
Hand the microphone over. Instead of rainbow-washing a community’s needs, partner with a community leader who can speak to important issues in an informed, compelling way. Influencer marketing is still a slippery slope, but spokespeople have been a tried-and-true visibility tactic for decades. The approach is win/win.
Do something outside of June. If you’ve missed the opportunity to promote pride in June … there are LGBTQ-related awareness days throughout the year. Your campaign is less likely to get caught in the rainbow-washed echo chamber that is June, too.
Go local. GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide includes a directory of community organizations to spotlight and be aware of. What are your local organizations, and how can you encourage supporting them? These grassroots initiatives often make an immediate impact and can literally save lives.
The LGBTQ economy continues to grow, and as a result, the pride marketing landscape is changing. Instead of phoning it in, use marketing dollars to spotlight issues that truly matter to your customers. Challenge yourself to zig when others zag, and you’re more likely to command our market’s attention for months and years to come.