Retail industry insights: to buy or not to buy?

Each month we use our amazing platform and insight team to take a deep-dive into a different industry to understand current trends and what’s driving consumer behaviour. This month it’s Retail. Register to download the full PDF below and keep up to date on our content, including more industry insights, downloadable ebooks and reports, webinars & more…

Download now

What consumers say about the impact of a rise in the cost of living on grocery shopping

With the Consumer Price Index at its highest level since 2006, driven by rising utility bills, cost of fuel and grocery prices, we asked Brits how this has affected their spending on grocery, what actions they have taken and what they expect supermarkets to do to help.

What we’re seeing

Brits are already feeling the pinch with over 55s most likely to be spending more on their shopping…

  • 41% of shoppers are spending more on grocery vs 3 months ago
  • 31% are cutting back on grocery spend

“Inflation is pushing the cost of groceries up regularly and then fuel for delivery of groceries is so expensive too.” – Female, 55-64

Brits blame price increases on a perfect storm of macro-economic factors such as the war in Ukraine, Brexit, energy and fuel prices going up and inflation.

  • 34% believe that the war in Ukraine is driving up the price of groceries

“Price of fuel for transport costs. Rising costs of food production e.g. fertilisers. Food supplies from Ukraine disrupted by war e.g. sunflower oil and wheat. Heating and food preparation costs rising because gas supply from Russia is being reduced in retaliation for imposition of sanctions. Suppliers cannot absorb increased costs so pass them on to customers.” – Female, 65+ 

  • 24% believe that rising fuel costs are driving up the price of groceries

“Rising fuel costs dramatically change the price of carrying the items to the supermarket. I know people forget about how items make it on to the shop floor. Plus, the mix of Brexit restricting imports and costs of tax on top of certain items.” – Female, 35-44

To combat price rises, Brits are primarily cutting down on treats, sticking to shopping lists, trading down from branded to own label and shopping at discounters.

  • 40% have cut down on treats and focussed on buying essentials only
  • 32% write out a shopping list beforehand and stick to it
  • 27% have switched from buying branded to own label products
  • 20% only buy products that are on offer

35–44s are most likely to have struggled, with 27% cutting back on other spending to afford groceries. One in ten (13%) have gone without meals to save money.

What can retailers do to help consumers?

Consumers want supermarkets to focus on essential groceries, by making them cheaper…

  • 70% want retailers to keep the cost of essential groceries low
  • 56% ask for more deals/discounts on essentials
  • 52% would like a range of lower cost own brand options
  • 49% want a wider range of budget own brand essentials

Rewarding customers for their loyalty by reducing the cost of their shop (54%) is also a popular request.

Retailers need to be more transparent with their pricing to reassure some consumers that they are keeping prices low to help grocery budgets go further.

“Some price increases are inevitable as manufacturers have been steadily reducing sizes of products for years while keeping packaging the same size, they’re not fooling anyone. I no longer do 1 big shop lots of smaller ones stocking up with the cheaper items at each different shop. I am much more aware of what things cost and I will switch shops if I think a shop is profiteering.” – Male, 66+

Brits broadly understand what is causing the rise in grocery prices and most are using a variety of strategies to make their grocery budget go further. There is an opportunity for retailers to help them with their shopping lists (e.g. recipe cards for quick and affordable meals in store) and increasing the range of essential products in deals or offers.

Ramping up reward schemes would show shoppers that retailers care about their customers by giving something back in a time of need.

Download ‘What’s happening in…Sustainability’!

How can we help?

Understand the changing mindset of shoppers with Researchbods.

Our proprietary access panel SurveyBods can help to answer all your retail-related questions, and our insight community platform ex-plor has a wide-ranging toolkit to capture shopping behaviours and attitudes – from discussion rooms and diary studies to surveys.

Get in touch