Consumers’ Spending Trends in 2022: Disposable Spending Expected to Dip

February 23, 2022

The past two years have brought about many changes in customer behavior. And, while some consumers are faced with having less disposable income, others have shifted their priorities. Recent global data from NielsenIQ indicates that consumers expect to spend more on necessities and less on out-of-home dining and entertainment. 

Per NielsenIQ’s data, close to 3 in 5 (56% of) households across the globe are spending more on their regular weekly shop than they did six months ago. Furthermore, when asked what areas will be more important to them over the next 12 months, the area with the highest net importance (calculated by subtracting “less important” from “more important” responses) was groceries (+23%). Other spending priorities cited include utilities (+18%), education (+14%) and childcare (+6%). 

With a positive net importance percentage of 3%, in-home entertainment is an area that consumers believe will be more important over the next 12 months. The same cannot be said for out-of-home entertainment (-31%) and out-of-home dining/eating (-31%), both of which sit at the bottom of the list of net importance to consumers in the next year. Consumers also are putting less emphasis on spending on vacations — whether they be domestic (-18%) or international (-23%), — electronics/technology (-7%) and clothing (-19%). And, although the first year of the pandemic saw more consumers focus on home improvement projects, home improvement and décor will be less important in the coming 12 months (-15%).

Wellness and Financial Security Are Top Priorities

Spending priorities are also witnessed in the areas of life that consumers consider to be more important in the next 12 months. Based on the same net importance calculation, mental wellness (+65%) and physical wellness (+63%) are at the forefront of importance. This high importance on wellness can be seen in the increased preference over the last 2 years to purchase fresh produce, as well as to buy products or brands with hygiene/safety claims and nutritional benefits. Consumers also are more likely to be on the lookout for healthier options. 

With the pandemic emphasizing the fact that, for some, financial security is fragile, saving for unforeseen circumstances is also high on the list of importance for a majority of consumers (+60%). Furthermore, consumers report that in the last two years they have become more likely to purchase from brands that are affordable or have lower prices. 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Matters

Research from WARC shows that societal topics including the environment and diversity, inclusivity, and social justice had an impact on marketing strategies for this year. Indeed, other research shows that consumers in the US are showing a growing preference to buy from sustainable brands.

NielsenIQ’s data mirrors this increased preference: consumers over the last 2 years are more apt to purchase products or from brands that are sustainable, have supported consumers during COVID, are socially responsible, and are transparent not only about their ingredients and supply chain, but also about their purpose.

Read more here.

About the Data: Findings are based on NielsenIQ’s Consumer Outlook Survey from December 2021.

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