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04/06/2022

Consumers Look for Ways to Save Amid Rising Grocery Prices

Advantage survey shows that they’re seeking bargains, buying less
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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As grocery and other living expenses increase, almost half (46%) of those surveyed by Advantage Sales said that they’re spending more money on groceries now.

According to Advantage Sales’ latest Pulse Survey of 1,000-plus grocery shoppers, which asked consumers how inflation and rising grocery prices are affecting how and where they shop and what they’re buying, U.S. grocery shoppers are considering their store options, reworking shopping lists and choosing products on promotion in the face of escalating food prices.

As grocery and other living expenses increase, almost half (46%) of those surveyed, who identify themselves as having primary or shared responsibility for their household’s grocery shopping, said that they’re spending more money on groceries now, with almost one-fifth spending “much more.”

“For the past year, retailers held off passing the entirety of manufacturer price increases on to their shoppers,” said Kimberly Senter, Advantage Sales’ EVP of analytics, insights and intelligence. “But they weren’t expecting manufacturers to take two, three or more increases in the last two years. Now, our research shows nine out of 10 manufacturers plan to take price increases this year, and half of retailers say they’ll be passing along at least 90% of those price hikes to the shelf. Shoppers are expecting — and will see — even higher rings at checkout."

Continued Senter: “At the same time, manufacturers have been cutting their investments in promotions. With shoppers turning to products on sale and discounted with coupons, it’s time brands — especially those positioned as premium or indulgent — reconsider.”

The survey’s highlights include the following:

  • Many shoppers aren’t just paying more for groceries, they’re also bringing home fewer items. Almost four in 10 are putting fewer groceries in their carts, with nearly one in 10 purchasing “much fewer” products.
  • At brick-and-mortar stores, higher prices are dampening in-store impulse sales, with one-third of those who shop primarily at physical locations saying that rising retails have meant going to the store less often.
  • As prices rise at the shelf, grocery shoppers are moving to retail channels with perceived lower prices. Almost half are shopping more at a mass merchandiser or superstore (or website), and one-third are shopping more at traditional grocery stores known for having lower prices (and their websites).
  • High grocery prices are having an even bigger impact on what shoppers are buying. Nearly half of shoppers are buying more items on sale or with a coupon, and almost as many are refraining from buying treats and indulgences. Four in 10 are opting for more store brands, and the same amount are purchasing the same kinds of products they normally do, but selecting cheaper brands.

A February Pulse Survey from Advantage Sales found that consumers’ interest in trying grocery products that are new to them remains strong, despite inflation and supply chain disruptions.

Advantage Sales is a division of Irvine, Calif.-based Advantage Solutions, a provider of outsourced sales and marketing solutions to consumer goods companies and retailers.

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