Advertisement
03/04/2022

RetailMeNot: Inflation, social media changing the way consumers shop

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Image
Inflation is having a major impact on shopper behavior.

Several factors are having a direct impact on how consumers shop.

Seventy-two percent of consumers are more concerned than usual about inflation, and 54% believe it’s harder to sustain their household today compared to a year ago, according to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers from RetailMeNot. Social media is also impacting consumer behavior, with one in five consumers saying they shop on social media channels more now compared to a year ago. Almost seven in 10 (68%) respondents say they are likely to make a purchase via social media. 

INFLATION
Respondents said they were seeing higher-than-expected prices in the following categories (the percent figures below represent the percentage of survey respondents who reported higher-than-expected prices):

  • Grocery stores: 82%.
  • Gas stations: 70%.
  • Restaurants: 51%.
  • Clothing: 36%.
  • Electronics: 31%.

As a result, anywhere from roughly one in four to six in 10 respondents report the following changes in shopping behavior:

  • 59% use coupons regularly.
  • 58% are making fewer shopping trips/visits.
  • 44% are looking for coupons or discounts more often.
  • 40% are cutting back discretionary spending.
  • 39% are switching to lower-priced brands (due to high prices/inflation).
  • 37% are buying more generic brands.
  • 30% are using more rewards or loyalty programs.
  • 27% are postponing major purchases.

[Read more: Consumer sentiment falls sharply]

Social media is also impacting consumer behavior, with one in five respondents saying they shop on social media channels more now compared to a year ago. Almost seven in 10 (68%) respondents say they are likely to make a purchase via social media. 

SOCIAL MEDIA
With regards to social media, respondents said:

  • Social shopping allows consumers to find new products: 54%
  • Social shopping provides a personalized option that makes shopping easier: 41%
  • Social shopping is an enjoyable experience: 40%
  • Social media shopping has changed the way they search for new products: 39%
  • Social shopping gives me the ability to find better product details: 34%
  • Social media ads feel less intrusive: 33%
  • Influencers often influence my purchases: 29%

The top products consumers are shopping for via social media include:

  • Apparel/clothing: 33%
  • Shoes: 23%
  • Electronics: 22%
  • Skincare and makeup: 20%

DIGITAL PAYMENTS
The survey also examined trends in digital payment, finding anywhere from roughly one in four to close to half of respondents have used the following digital payment methods:

  • 46% real-time payments (like CashApp, Venmo, Zelle).
  • 37% bank transfer or automated clearing house (ACH) payments.
  • 36% digital/mobile wallet.
  • 33% tap and pay.
  • 23% buy now, pay later (e.g., Klarna, lay away, Affirm, Afterpay).

Higher percentages of respondents said they plan to use the following digital payment options in the next six months:

  • 51% real-time payments (e.g., Cash App, Venmo, Zelle).
  • 48% tap and pay.
  • 42% digital/mobile wallet.
  • 38% bank transfer or ACH payments.
  • 32% buy now, pay later (e.g., Klarna, lay away, Affirm, Afterpay).

In addition, 56% of respondents said they somewhat/strongly agree with this statement: “I use cash less now than I did two years ago.” And 49% said they somewhat/strongly agree with this statement: “I believe cash will soon be a thing of the past.”