How shoppers are adapting to the cost of living crisis

According to a recent report published by McKinsey, 81% of Brits have altered their shopping habits in some form to cope with the financial strains caused by the cost of living crisis.

In the face of skyrocketing living costs, we’re seeing a shift in consumer behaviour, with many opting for more affordable brands or cutting spending on non-essentials.

Among various age groups, the McKinsey report shows that Millennials and Gen X-ers are particularly feeling the pinch, with almost two-thirds of each group looking to purchase fewer goods and services due to rising prices. A sentiment shared by 50% of Boomers and Gen Z-ers. So, what’s going on inside shoppers’ minds as they navigate the aisles and make their purchasing decisions in today’s ever-evolving climate?

What’s influencing our behaviour?

Tessa Stuart is the ‘shopper stalker’, spending her days in the supermarket aisles, observing and questioning shoppers about their choices and purchases. On behalf of food and drink businesses and authorised by the supermarkets in question, of course. With her extensive knowledge of consumer behaviour, Tessa truly has her finger on the pulse of the choices shoppers are making.

Tessa’s remarkable ability to shed light on the complexities of consumer behaviour is crucial in today’s climate, with households feeling the pinch. For instance, 45% of remote workers plan to decrease their time spent working from home due to rising energy costs. Additionally, the stats show an increasing number of consumers have embraced the discipline of adhering to a stricter shopping list and actively seeking out and purchasing reduced items.

Adapting to the cost of living crisis

Food inflation is at record highs, which means consumers are increasingly conscious of their expenses and are adapting their behaviours in the supermarket aisles. What insights can manufacturers use to navigate this market successfully? Being out there in the shopping aisles means Tessa has access to unrivalled insights about what today’s shoppers are thinking. She recently joined us for an insightful webinar where she shed light on this most critical topic.

“What’s happening is that people are walking into supermarkets and thinking, why is everything so expensive? Everybody is now walking into supermarkets, completely confronted by rising prices. It’s the number one thing on people’s minds,” Tessa says.

The number one trend she sees amongst today’s shoppers is that they are laser-focused, moving purposefully from aisle to aisle.

  • 62% of shoppers are now making a shopping list before shopping.
  • 40% are setting a budget for what they spend – with self-scanning now being increasingly used.
  • 50% of adults are buying less food when food shopping.
  • 48% of adults are shopping around more – Aldi now has a massive 10% of UK grocery.
  • 1 in 3 shoppers is trading down, buying more own-label products than branded products.
  • 1 in 3 shoppers is buying more products on promotion.
  • 46% are spending less on food shopping and essentials.

In today’s consumer landscape, shoppers quickly reject what they see as ‘excessive’ pricing and are cutting down on categories they see as “nice to haves”. As such, having a robust promotional strategy is very important, Tessa says. For food producers, some of the biggest questions you should consider are: what value does your brand bring that own label simply can’t? How do you make sure you’re included on that all-important shopping list? And how do you bulletproof your food and drink product and make it a must-buy instead of a ‘nice to have’?

Find out more of Tessa’s insights from the supermarket aisles in this webinar recording.

Cost of living crisis shopper trends with Tessa Stuart