Inflation is making purchases stressful, survey finds - SmartBrief

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Inflation is making purchases stressful, survey finds

Many consumers are stressed about purchasing amid high rates of inflation. Here's how marketers should adjust their strategies.

3 min read


A woman holds her head as she looks at a laptop screen.

Elisa Ventur / Unsplash

As the US experiences its highest rate of inflation in 40 years, about half of all consumers say their mental health is being adversely affected by having to make spending decisions as prices rise.

The findings are from a survey of 1,000 American adults by Vericast, a marketing solutions company. The study also found that 72% of consumers are responding to inflation by shifting their shopping behaviors to buying generic products or lower-priced products. This strategy is being embraced in the greatest numbers by millennials (77%) and Gen Xers (76%).  Of the survey respondents, 61% said they are eating out less often. Demographically, Gen X and millennials were most likely to cut back on eating out, 67% and 62%, respectively.

About one-third are limiting purchases of nonessential items. Clothing and accessories, followed by groceries, were the top categories where consumers are limiting spending.

Still, there are opportunities for marketers to reach consumers in this environment. Of the respondents, 88% said that coupons would motivate them to shop at a new place or buy a new brand.

Top money-saving strategies to combat inflation?

  • 31% are limiting spending on nonessential items
  • 13% are looking for more coupons or discounts
  • 12% are shopping the sale section

What can marketers do?

Empathy is the key, according to Dave Cesaro, Vericast’s executive director of client strategy.

Some brands are easing financial worries by making greater use of no-interest, buy now pay later deals for larger purchases, or addressing rising fuel costs by offering gas gift cards when consumers buy from their brand, Cesaro told SmartBrief. 

Expressing empathy for the pain consumers are experiencing because of rising prices and how the retailer is helping consumers get through that pain,” Cesaro said, adding, “Whether by allowing consumers to spread out payments over time or giving the consumer something that will help them right now with a pain that they are feeling every time they need to put gas in their vehicle.”

In addition to practical strategies that offer value to consumers, marketers should also ensure messaging across channels reflects an understanding of the pressures and worries that currently being experienced by consumers. 

The use of social communities is a good way to not only demonstrate empathy with shoppers, but also to listen and better understand what consumers are facing. Meta recently highlighted such efforts in a marketing playbook about communities on social media to help marketers drive engagement and brand loyalty. Meta recognizes how more brands are seeing the value in developing and engaging communities to connect more meaningfully with social media audiences.

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