A new report estimates that 20 million Britons cut back on their spending during the first three months of 2011, while more people chose to go out less during the period. The survey of almost 2,000 people conducted by YouGov for financial firm Axa found that people had cut back on going out, car usage, food shopping and holidays during the first quarter of 2011. 40% of consumers (up to 20 million people) chose to go out less between January and March this year, a five percentage points increase on the previous year. It found that nearly half of those who chose to go out less were young professionals. The survey also found that 35% of us are spending less on alcohol and takeaways. The report said the the cut back in spending was particular evident for those people in their 20s and 30s on low incomes with few financial assets, which it described as “the stretched”. The study also found that there had been a sharp drop in financial confidence over the year to the end of March. Axa UK's chief investment officer, Eric Lhomond, said: "These figures reveal a concerted effort by British consumers to claw back some financial security in the face of a significant drop in optimism that we found across all demographic groups. The result is that we are busy paying off debts, reining in unnecessary spending and clinging on to financial products to protect or grow our assets."