Figures released last week have publicised how the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2014. This comes as much awaited good news, suggesting Britain may finally be starting to see some much needed recovery in its economy. It also follows recent news of how a revived housing market is helping to boost sales for furniture, carpet and other non-food retailers, with a rise of 9.6% in March, its biggest annual rise for an impressive 12 years.

So, what does this mean for our retailers and brands moving forward? The recent recession and economic downturn has inevitably impacted on consumer spending habits and disposable income. You’d have to have been living on Mars to avoid the doom and gloom stories about the death of the high street and collapse of so many of our much loved retailers and brands. However, with this change also came changes in consumer spending, and ultimately how people shop.

One of the clearest ways to see this change in behavior is the growth of ‘bargain’ and ‘budget’ retailers such as Aldi and Lidl. Aldi is grabbing more middle-class shoppers and expanding the size of its average basket. The proportion of the retailer’s customers from the AB socio-economic has risen from 12.9pc last year to 18.6pc, with new shops opening in affluent locations, such as Knutsford, Cheshire. A true reflection that shopping in discount supermarkets bears no shame anymore, and is actually a savvy way to shop.

It’s not just the supermarkets who have seen a shake up. Home retailers such as Achica are leading the way in discount shopping, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that consumers are bored of insincere high street sales, whilst being attracted by the simplicity and convenience of discount retailing.

It will be interesting to see how this lift in spending will effect this trend, will consumers revert back to their more frivolous selves, or is the voucher savvy,  happy to shop at Lidl during the week (Waitrose and M&S at the weekends darling, obviously) buyer here to stay? Ultimately brands will need to be looking at their promotions and ensure that their marketing strategies support their long term needs and sustainability to compete with the changing climate. Something tells us that the changes we’ve seen in recent years are here to stay and not just a blip.