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How concerned are shoppers about inflation?

retail price increase
Consumer concerns over inflation are moderating.

A new survey may provide some good news for retailers regarding consumer attitudes toward inflation.

Fears about inflation among surveyed U.S. shoppers is at its lowest level since October 2022, though still high at 65% concerned, according to the new “Inflation Special Report” from Kroger’s 84.51° data analytics subsidiary,

Overall, 32% of respondents believe inflation at its current high level will end in 10 months or less and 28% think it will last one to two years. Younger respondents aged 25 to 34 are the most optimistic about the timeline, with a majority thinking the current level of inflation will end in three to six months.

When asked how they feel about their finances, roughly six in 10 (62%) respondents are neutral and about one in five (21%) feel uncomfortable. However, only 7% of respondents say they have more than enough money available to cover monthly expenses with extra cash for purchases or savings, while 33% say they can cover their expenses but have little leftover, and 27% are living paycheck to paycheck.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Four in 10 respondents who are going out to eat/ordering food are doing so less in response to inflation.
  • Six in 10 (61%) respondents are switching to low-cost brands, most commonly in shelf-stable items (61%). Close to six in 10 (57%) respondents are cutting back on non-essential purchases, and 51% have switched to a lower cost brand more often.
  • Respondents generally shop in-store for price & affordability (49%), sales & promotions (46%) and to save money (41%).
  • Seven in 10 respondents are seeking more sales, deals and coupons. Analysis of the Kroger e-commerce site reveals a 92% year-over-year increase in digital coupon page views.
  • About one-third (34%) of respondents intend to buy more items that they can grill outside. 
  • More than four in 10 (43%) respondents with summer travel plans will limit the number of souvenirs purchased.

Study: Consumer optimism, spending, travel plans up despite recession concerns

According to global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal’s Consumer and Retail Group’s recent spring consumer report, compared to fall 2022, there is a significant overall increase in financial optimism and plans to spend.

Among the key takeaways of the Consumer Sentiment Survey Spring 2023 report: Consumer expectations regarding things getting better, saving more, having more money, and plans to spend the same or more on basic needs were all up from fall 2022.

In the six-month outlook, 61% of consumers expect things to get better for their family, up 13% from fall; 54% plan to save more, up 11%; 55% expect to have more money, up 10% and 88% plan to spend the same or more money, up 1%.

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