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The top consumer concerns are…

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Shoppers are increasingly concerned about cost.

Consumer priorities are shifting.

Nearly all (94%) of consumers surveyed around the globe are now worried about the rise of living costs as inflation continues, according to the new 12th edition of the EY Future Consumer Index (FCI). Affordability is now the leading concern for 35% of consumer respondents globally increasing 10 percentage points since the last FCI was released in October 2022.

Out of the five consumer segments tracked by the FCI — “planet first,” “experience first,” “society first,” “health first” and “affordability first”—  “planet first” saw the biggest decrease (a drop in nine percentage points, from 25% to 16%).

However, the “health first” consumer respondent group increased by 7 percentage points (from 17% to 24%) since October 2022 to become the second largest segment behind affordability for the first time since May 2021.

Consumers focus on prices over brands, trends

The survey also shows that respondents are concerned enough about rising costs to become less sensitive to purchase factors such as brands or trends. More than nine in 10 (92%) respondents are concerned with their country’s economy and about four in 10 (39%) expect the situation to get worse over the next six months.

More than one-third (36%) of respondents plan to spend less on clothes, 44% expect to buy less take-away food and nearly half (49%) plan only to spend on essential products.

Over six in 10 (62%) respondents don’t feel the need to keep up with the latest fashion trends, and half would now consider private label for clothing, shoes and accessories. Fifty-five percent say brands are no longer important, while 67% of respondents now prefer to repair rather than replace their possessions.

In addition, about eight in 10 (79%) respondents feel prices for food have increased in the past three to four months, and 74% have noticed some brands have reduced their pack sizes without reflecting changes in the price.

[Read more: How concerned are shoppers about inflation?]

Consumers shop with technology

The study also reveals almost half of respondents (46%) have used online grocery delivery services in the last three months, a 12-percentage point rise since June 2022. Notably, 66% of respondents said they are willing to share their data in exchange for cheaper alternatives.

The 12th edition of the EY Future Consumer Index surveyed 21,000 respondents across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Vietnam, Nigeria, and the Netherlands.

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