Almost half of Americans feel like they cannot afford their pre-inflation lifestyle, while 76 percent say they have changed how their family buys food as prices have continued to rise.
These findings are from a new consumer sentiment survey on inflation from NCSolutions.
Eight-five percent of Americans are either “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about inflation. Eighty-three percent of Americans believe the cost of living will become more expensive in the coming year, and more than half are concerned with the country’s financial situation.
“For the second time in a little over two years, consumers are pivoting to new purchasing behaviors at the grocery store,” Alan Miles, CEO of NCSolutions, said in a press release.
“Since the start of the pandemic, they’ve been swapping their favorite brands for what’s available. Today, though, value is the centerpiece more often than availability, consumers are selecting brands and products to stretch their budgets as far as possible,” he said. “[Consumer packaged goods] (CPG) brands that meet customers where they are both in this inflationary moment and as prices ease have the best shot at keeping them for the long-term.”
Gas prices have seen a mild decline over the past few months, which gives Americans a bit more disposable income. But many — particularly lower income families — are still struggling.
Consumers have no option but to buy certain essentials like groceries and gas, but may switch to cheaper brands or how often they buy, economic analyst Kayla Brunn told CNN. “It’s really those discretionary goods we’re seeing a lot of cutback on, particularly among those lower- and middle-income groups,” she said.
Data from NCSolutions shows that price increases in 2022 are moving at an accelerated rate compared to prior years.
“There’s reasons to be optimistic, but also reasons to be concerned. Inflation still is really high, even if it’s slowing down,” Bruun said. “That’s a really long time for consumers to be living with these elevated prices.”
Consumers are also noticing issues related to shock in the supply chain for food items. Sixty percent of American shoppers say packaging has gotten smaller while costs remain the same, compared to a year ago. Sixty-nine percent believe there are fewer items of the same product on shelves, while more than a third of Americans say they see fewer brands available on shelves compared to a year ago.
The online survey of 2,141 respondents was conducted between June 17 and June 20, 2022.