British shoppers are sacrificing luxury items to save money in the economic downturn, research has found.

In a study conducted by Unilever, it was revealed that items such as bubble baths, body moisturisers and upmarket cleaning products are being overlooked in favour of shower gels and multipurpose cleaners.

The report also showed that margarine and mayonnaise were also more popular as people are starting to cook at home and make their own sandwiches rather than eating out. One Unilever product, Stork margarine, saw 3% volume growth in 2008 compared with the previous year.

Unilever has also furthered its research into the perfect convenience store by designing a virtual store in a computer simulation.

The programme allows Unilever to rearrange the aisles to best suit consumer needs. The plan has been used in a Co-op and several Tesco Express stores, where sales grew by 9% in the first five to eight weeks of the redesign.