Mortgage demand to ebb but outlook for life and pensions looks strong

However, 80% of consumers have indicated that they would be financially active in the coming six months - saving, investing, borrowing or repaying debt. The number of consumers saving or investing rose from 64 per cent in June to 68 per cent in September.

This snapshot of the financial services market comes from the latest Financial Activity Bulletin produced by Martin Hamblin GfK and John Gilbert Associates.

A preference for cash rose sharply among savers/investors with 54% (37% of all adults) expecting to pay money into a deposit account, up 11% (9% of all adults) on June. The proportion of consumers intending to pay into life and pension schemes also saw healthy rises compared with June.

Despite a planned move into cash-based deposit accounts, investor confidence in shares and unit trusts improved in September from the June low, with more people indicating they expect to invest rather than withdraw funds.

Among borrowers, consumer credit demand is set to pick up in the coming months with increases signalled in personal loans, credit card borrowing and overdraft usage compared to June. This suggests that consumer spending is unlikely to weaken if interest rates continue at their present low level.

The survey also found that the vast majority of consumers are in control of their debts. Indeed debt repayment has been a feature of consumersí financial activity this year with the proportion intending to repay debt rising from 26% in March to 32% in September.

The Financial Activity Bulletin is produced every October, January, April and July. It relates consumer confidence to financial activity and tracks this against expected savings, investment and credit usage activity over the next six months.