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How to stay on top of behaviour change when shoppers are feeling the pinch

Tania Findlay Associate Director 04/07/2023

Like most, every time I visit the supermarket, I give a silent tut as I compare the prices on the shelves to what they were the last time I visited.  It makes me less likely to pick up my usual favoured brands and be more considered in the choices that I make, often opting for a cheaper alternative.

Around half of UK adults are buying less grocery food than before

As the nation continues to be impacted by rising grocery bills, it isn’t surprising that 1 in 5 people feel anxious when shopping for groceries.

Although there has been a slight drop in inflation figures (from 10.1% in March to 8.7% in April), food and drink prices remain exceptionally high, affecting shoppers like myself and altering our normal shopping behaviours.

The latest figures from the Savanta Grocery Eye show that economic concerns are influencing how different demographics and resilience groups shop. This poses a challenge for retailers and manufacturers to adapt to more flexible and agile management of the category, offering shoppers a range that better meets their needs across channels.

Over half (54%) of grocery shoppers have switched to cheaper brands

Routine purchases have also changed; with many that feel the pinch transitioning from the brands they know and love to ‘own label’ equivalents. In fact, own label sales were up 13.5% year on year, with the very cheapest value lines jumped by 46%, according to data from Kantar.

This can provide a challenge or an opportunity for brands depending on their price point, as shoppers continue to shop around looking for better value or lower-priced alternatives.

So, what does this mean for you and your brand?

More than ever, shoppers are thinking about what they really need and how brands can deliver this for them. Product availability and reliance on loyalty are not enough. To grow your brand and category, the focus is increasingly on demonstrating value at point of sale by showcasing to shoppers and retailers that each SKU has its purpose and is…

  • Available: at the right place at the right time (channel strategy)
  • Seen: Merchandised to be visible (macro & micro placement, execution)
  • Wanted: fulfils a specific shopper and consumer need (category understanding, innovation)
  • Desirable: fits the right decision criteria at point of purchase (category drivers, packs, and brand comms)

Savanta’s Category Management research can help you with understanding where to play and how to win shoppers.

By understanding the territory, we can develop a bespoke solution for your business to help you answer key questions such as:

  • What are the latest shopping trends and unmet needs relevant to your category?
  • What channels should our brand focus on and how do we make sure they are best positioned in this space for optimum impact?
  • How do we optimise our offer, in terms of channels/formats and retailers?
  • How can we win with shoppers via each of these channels?
  • How can we build strategic partnerships to demonstrate category leadership with retailers?

If you would like more information, please get in touch with the Customer & Shopper Strategy team at [email protected]

Want to find out more about how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting grocery shopping?

In our most recent Grocery Eye report, we investigate the influence of the cost-of-living crisis and unveil a significant connection between financial resilience and the capacity to maintain a healthy and nutritious lifestyle.

Download the full report here.

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

We help build categories.

We can help you inform where to play and how to win. We’ll help you to understand the shopper story behind the sales data and help you to place category management at the heart of your organisational ecosystem.

Download our one page overview

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