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Insight of the Day: Pinched by inflation, shoppers plan to eat at home more, skip meals and use coupons

As consumer prices continue to rise, the latest results from the Advantage 2024 Shopper Outlook survey reveal that more Americans are adjusting their spending habits to cope with inflation. Consumers are increasingly opting to eat at home, skipping meals, and seeking out value-driven purchases to save money. These shifting habits present opportunities for brands and retailers to adapt their offerings and marketing strategies to meet evolving consumer demands.

The survey highlights that 16% of participants plan to have more meals at home in the next six months, focusing on categories such as fresh produce, snacks, meat from the meat counter, and frozen foods. This trend opens up opportunities for retailers and brands to offer convenient meal solutions and promote cost-saving menu suggestions to attract budget-conscious consumers.

Consumers across income levels are turning to promotional media platforms to find value, with the majority using shopper loyalty coupons, retailer websites, store loyalty apps, and various forms of digital and printed coupons. The use of promotional media varies by generation, with Gen Z favoring social media and websites, while Boomers rely more on in-store circulars. Understanding these preferences is crucial for brands and retailers to tailor their marketing strategies effectively.

The survey also reflects consumers' changing buying behaviors, with many opting for essentials over premium items like high-end food items, desserts, and beauty products. Additionally, a significant percentage of consumers plan to reduce spending on dining out, breakfast and lunch outings, coffee purchases, and services like spas and salons.

Millennials, especially those with children, are feeling the impact of inflation, with many planning to cut back on dining out and prioritize eating at home. Lower-income households, in particular, are making adjustments by opting for lower-priced brands or reducing their weekly shopping expenses.

External factors such as reductions in SNAP benefits and changes to student loan forgiveness programs are also influencing consumer behavior. Lower-income households are more likely to skip meals to save money, while the South Central parts of the United States are experiencing a higher impact from inflation due to the prevalence of lower-income households.

Overall, the survey sheds light on the ways in which consumers are navigating the current economic landscape and making adjustments to their shopping and dining habits in response to inflation. Retailers and brands have an opportunity to address changing consumer needs by offering value-driven solutions and targeted promotions that resonate with budget-conscious shoppers.


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