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How consumers are controlling spending

spending decrease
Many consumers are being more cautious with their budgets.

Shoppers are taking a variety of steps to tighten their purse strings in 2024.

Thirty-nine percent of surveyed U.S. and U.K. shoppers are prioritizing budget-friendly options and 35% are focusing on essentials, according to the "2024 Consumer Research" report from digital product management technology provider Salsif.  Also, 31% are intensifying price comparisons, 26% are approaching impulse buying cautiously,and 22% are deliberately postponing purchases.

[Read more: Consumers plan to spend more — and less — in these categories...]

Omnichannel shopping preferences

The survey also obtained a variety of findings related to omnichannel shopping, with 49% of respondents preferring a balance between online and in-store shopping, while 29% lean toward e-commerce and 22% favor brick-and-mortar stores. 

 In other findings:

  • More than half (54%) of respondents use smartphones for in-store research, and 23% have completed online purchases via smartphone while in a brick-and-mortar store aisle.
  • Product images and descriptions are “extremely” or “very” important to 78% of respondents, with customer ratings (72%) and user-generated content (40%) influencing purchasing decisions significantly. Authenticity is king, as customers seek unfiltered, real-world images and opinions from others like them. 
  • An online retailer failing to meet digital content expectations including high-quality visuals, video product demonstrations, and 360-degree views results in 45% of respondents returning items due to incorrect or inaccurate details.

Artificial intelligence

The top five artificial intelligence (AI)-powered shopping features driving the most interest among respondents are:

  • Virtual shopping assistants (24%).
  • Personalized brand or product recommendations (23%).
  • Smart size recommendations for fashion products (23%).
  • Virtual try-on tool (21%).
  • Virtual showroom tours (20%).


Delving into respondents’ preferred sustainable practices, the survey finds the following efforts are most popular:

  • Eco-friendly packaging (34%).
  • Fair labor practices (27%). 
  • Ethical sourcing (23%). 
  • Public stances on social or political causes and social responsibility programs were less popular, both cited by 12% of respondents. 

Unusual shopping behaviors 

Exploring unusual shopping behaviors, the survey reveals:

  • One-in-five respondents (21%), including 23% of Gen X, 22% of Gen Z and millennials and 15% of boomers, have made online purchases after midnight.
  • One-in-10 (11%) Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X have made purchases under the influence of alcohol, while 8% of Gen Z and 7% of millennials did so while using cannabis.

"In 2024, the consumer mantra centers on mindful shopping, stressing the importance of every brand interaction being both engaging and consistently exceptional,” said Salsify research director Dom Scarlett. “Authenticity becomes a key focal point, recognizing that relatable connections, along with high-quality product images and content, are as significant as pricing and discounts in influencing shoppers to make a purchase.”

Salsify conducted a quantitative online research survey via SurveyMonkey in December 2023, among a general consumer pool of 2,700 online shoppers in the U.S. (1,397) and U.K. (1,303). 

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