Inflation is Leading More Than 8 in 10 Americans to Change Their Spending Habits

May 17, 2022

Some 84% of American adults expect their purchasing habits to change over the next few months as a result of inflation or current price increases, according to a survey from Ipsos. That sentiment is steady across income levels, but higher among Hispanic adults, 89% of whom said they expected their purchase behaviors to change.

Among the various ways in which Americans will change their spending, 42% said they’re likely to buy brands on sale/promotion, while about one-third (34%) are likely to buy fewer products overall. Likewise, about 1 in 3 (33%) are likely to wait and buy items they need only when they are on sale, or to buy cheaper brands (32%). Roughly 1 in 4 (26%) reported a likelihood to buy private label/store brands. Separately, a recent BCG/IRI report notes that branded CPGs took back share from private labels last year, so it will be interesting to see what impact inflation will have on that trend.

Meanwhile, more survey data from Ipsos indicates that 37% of adults expect their total household spending to increase over the next 3 months. However, with 40% expecting their spending to stay steady and 17% for it to decrease, the analysts point out that adults may find ways to offset price increases.

That may involve changing food purchases, as a slight majority (53%) agree that increasing food prices are making it difficult for them to afford the food they usually buy, with only 20% disagreeing. Indeed, 77% of survey respondents noted an increase in their total grocery bill compared to the start of the year. Large majorities also noted price increases for meat (75%), dairy (73%), fresh fruit and vegetables (71%) and food at restaurants (69%).

What’s clear is that this is proving a headache for Americans. Presented with a list of topics and asked which 3 they find the most worrying, inflation or increasing costs emerged as easily the top-cited response (42%), ahead of political extremism or polarization (27%), crime or gun violence (26%) and climate change (23%). In a sign of the changing times, COVID was only the 11th-ranked concern.

About the Data: The data on spending changes is from a survey conducted April 12-13 among 1,165 US adults (18+). The data concerning Americans’ worries is from a survey conducted March 18-21 among 1,006 US adults (18+), and the results on price increases, food affordability, and spending amounts are from a survey conducted March 29-30 among 1,152 US adults (18+).

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