Some 2.3 million UK households missed an essential payment last month, up from 1.9 million in December, figures suggest.
However the figure for January – when missed payments for mortgage, rent, loans, credit cards and other bills typically peak – is similar to those from the past two years, according to the Which? Consumer Insight Tracker.
The monthly poll of approximately 2,000 people found that six in 10 (59%) made at least one financial adjustment such as cutting back on essentials, selling items, or dipping into savings in the last month to cover essential spending – a significant increase on the 49% last January.
However it is lower than the peak of 65% who made adjustments in September.
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “With 2.3 million UK households missing payments in January and those on the lowest incomes being hit hardest, consumers will need more support than ever in 2023.
“As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite into household finances, we are calling on businesses in essential sectors – like food, energy and broadband providers – to do more to help customers get a good deal and avoid unnecessary or unfair costs and charges.”
– The Consumer Insight Tracker is an online poll carried out monthly by Yonder on behalf of Which? with approximately 2,000 respondents per wave.