People working in the retail, catering and leisure sectors are most vulnerable in the economic downturn, a communication company says.

These are the areas in which consumers can reduce their spending as they begin to think carefully about saving money, according to Plantronics.

A study by the company shows 79 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have felt negative impacts on their business as a result of the current economic slowdown.

David Molian, a lecturer speaking on behalf of Plantronics, said it is an easy decision for consumers not to go out for a meal and buy food from a supermarket instead.

"People are beginning to think carefully about what it is that they want and what it is they need, and what they need is taking precedence over what they want," he added.

According to the study, SMEs with mobile workforces are ten per cent more likely to have been hit by the slowdown.