8 in 10 US Adults Accuse Brands of “Greedflation”

May 3, 2023

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Loyalty & Purchase Habits | Brand-Related | CPG & FMCG | Cross-Media & Traditional | Industries | PR | Retail & E-Commerce

The vast majority of Americans say that inflation has impacted their spending, and they’ve been taking numerous actions in response. As marketers adjust their value propositions in response to the economic climate, they may want to take into account adults’ belief that brands are profiting from the situation. Indeed, 8 in 10 adults surveyed by Attest feel that brands are using inflation as an excuse to hike prices.

In fact, brands may be to blame for higher prices, per respondents: more than half (53.1%) believe that “greedflation” (brands using inflation as an excuse to hike prices) is happening a lot, while an additional 26.8% believe it’s happening somewhat.

The grocery industry is particularly prone to this phenomenon in the eyes of consumers. Fully three-quarters (75.6%) think that groceries have seen the highest price rises due to “greedflation”. This may be related to groceries being the area where Americans – across generations – have felt the pinch from rising prices the most.

The grocery category is also the most susceptible to brand-switching behavior as a result of higher prices. With almost 9 in 10 respondents saying that inflation has made them either much more likely (44.2%) or somewhat more likely (44.3%) to try other brands, groceries were again the runaway leader when asked in which categories respondents are most likely to switch brands to save money. Clothing/shoes trailed distantly.

Overall, presented with 8 reasons why consumers would stop buying a brand’s products and/or services, price increases ranked almost at the top, cited as the top reason by 32.5% share of respondents. That was just behind the leading culprit, a negative experience with the brand (33% share).

For fewer Americans, a high-profile controversy would be the main reason to stop purchasing from a brand. As it stands, respondents appear to be somewhat patient and forgiving towards brands. If a brand they buy is involved in a high-profile controversy that causes them to be viewed negatively, only about one-quarter (26.4% share) of respondents say that their first reaction would be to boycott/stop buying the brand’s product/services immediately. Instead, a leading 35.1% share would give the brand time to issue a public statement before making up their mind, while an additional 22.6% would do nothing.

Additionally, whereas 43.3% of adults are very likely (12.9%) or likely (30.4%) to forgive a brand they deem has made a mistake publicly, fewer than one-third as many (13.1%) would be unlikely or very unlikely to do so.

That said, consumers’ patience has its limits: fewer than 1 in 10 would give brands 3 or more chances if they deemed it had made a mistake and broken their trust.

Finally, the actions that respondents would most expect brands to take if they had made a mistake would be to provide full transparency publicly about the controversy and how they will fix it (55.2%) and to issue a public apology saying sorry (42%). These have also in the past been seen as remedies for CX failures.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 2,000 US adults (18+).


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