Despite easing inflation, American consumers are proceeding with caution — and changing the way they shop in some instances.
Concerns about the current economic climate are affecting 83% of consumers’ shopping habits, with 47% saying they will spend less overall in the next three months, according to a study by Shopkick. The shopping rewards app surveyed more than 11,000 consumers nationwide from January 21-23, to understand their financial concerns and how they plan to adjust their shopping behavior.
The survey found that the high price of groceries has hit Americans especially hard, causing 73% to utilize shopping reward apps and coupons more frequently. Nearly half (49%) are intentionally taking fewer trips to the store to save on gas, 31% are shopping in bulk, 29% are using store-specific credit cards and 19% are buying canned foods over fresh.
Shopkick noted that one of the changes in consumer behavior has been the shift away from shopping local. In March 2021, 65% percent of consumers said they were supporting local or small businesses when possible. However now, only 17% say they regularly shop at local brick-and-mortar stores.
Other highlights from the survey are below.
• Decrease in Spending: Only 12% of consumers anticipate their spending will increase in the next three months, with the majority (68% ) citing the economy as the main reason they’re tightening their budgets.
Beyond the economy, 43% are spending less to pay off their debt, while 42% will naturally spend less now that the holidays are over.
• Gas Prices Strike Back: Just as Americans were getting used to lower gas prices, they began to rise once again, causing concern for 91% of consumers. To combat the spike in prices at the pump, 75% are decreasing the amount they drive and 83% are trying to save more money to afford it.
• More In-Store Shopping: In September 2022, the majority of consumers said they planned to split their holiday shopping between online and in-store (71%) . Now that the holidays are over, 78% are choosing to shop in-store, while 22% plan to shop online.
• Missing Essentials: Consumers’ main goal this year is to purchase only the essentials, such as groceries, toiletries, and medicine. However, that is proving to be difficult as 55% have noticed essential items – like eggs – are less available now than they were last month.
Additionally, 97% of consumers have noticed price increases on everyday goods over the past year.
• Searching for Sales: When it comes to other priorities, consumers are focused on finding sales (47%), purchasing more generic brands (21%), relying on shopping and couponing apps to find deals (18%) and spending less overall (12%).
“Consumers are getting mixed messages around where the economy is headed, but they continue to be extremely wary of overspending and diligent about finding ways to save,” said Brittany Billings, executive VP of strategic markets and marketing at Shopkick. "Now more than ever, brands and retailers should prioritize finding ways to support shoppers, from offering deals and discounts to flexible shopping services to ensure consumers’ loyalty and trust for the future.”