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UK shoppers faced with new price challenges

As the cost-of-living crisis spreads, more consumers are feeling the pinch and looking at alternatives to make grocery shopping less expensive and stressful. Our latest wave of the Grocery Eye looks at how grocery shopping behaviours and priorities are changing and what it means for retailers and manufacturers.

Julie Vigne Senior Research Director 16 February 2023
We fully expected results of the latest wave of the Grocery Eye to reflect the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and how most UK consumers feel about grocery shopping now but maybe not to the extent that it did.

What used to be a fairly enjoyable activity laced with some curiosity and excitement has transitioned to something most shoppers are now dreading, with 1 in 5 feeling anxious about upcoming shopping trips.

Understandably, the focus for most is very much on budget control, with 40% of shoppers stating that their shopping is getting more expensive every month. Consequently, many shoppers have reverted to strict shopping lists and in-store shopping over delivery, as well as limiting treats and non-essentials.

Many are trying to find ways to keep their grocery budget under control, with 39% planning to make changes to where and how they shop in the next twelve months, primarily for financial reasons.

At shelf-level and point-of-sale, the focus is very much on price and promotions, with the excitement of discovering new products much less top of mind unless there is a price incentive attached to it.

This, however, brings new shopping experience issues and makes ‘availability’ and ‘difficulty finding what I am looking for’ the top 2 and 3 shopper frustrations, after price.

Of course, there are some nuances across audiences, mostly based on age and resilience to the crisis. But it is clear that all audiences are impacted and are developing coping mechanisms which are and will continue to drive their retailer and brand purchase decisions.

This means that standing out at shelf-level is more important than ever. Price, of course, remains a key battleground; with many changing the way they shop to save money; retailers will need to shift focus to price and promotions over exploration. But it is critical for retailers and manufacturers to also ensure products are easy to find. After all, no one will buy something they can’t see, no matter how cheap it might be.

The Grocery Eye runs every quarter with a n=2,000 strong UK nationally representative sample. Tracking the latest attitudes and behaviours towards grocery shopping.

To find out more about how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting grocery shopping, download our Grocery Eye headline or contact the Consumer team.