Brands urged to help out as cost of living crisis deepens

wallet-3548021_1920Any new sense of optimism, triggered by the change of Government and the England football team’s progression in the Euros, is likely to take some time to filter down, with new figures revealing the increasing cost-consciousness of British consumers as tough economic conditions prevail.

According to the latest IPA TouchPoints data, over a third of Brits (38%) are not coping on their current income. While this is up only marginally (1%) year-on-year, it is up by 17% on pre-lockdown 2020 figures, and reveals the ongoing grip of the cost-of-living crisis.

Coupled with this, 6.6% of consumers are consolidating their debts/remortgaging this year, which is up on last year’s 5.9% and is a 50% increase on the pre-lockdown figure of 4.4%.

The comprehensive dataset, which is designed to reveal the habits of British consumers’ daily lives and how their media usage fits into this, exposes the knock-on effect of such financial constraints on consumers’ purchasing decisions.

It shows that almost half of UK consumers (45.9%) are actively looking for money-off vouchers. This is a 10% percentage increase year-on-year and almost 45% higher than in pre-lockdown 2020.

In addition, over a third of consumers (34.7%) often check the comparative online price of a product they are looking at in-store. This is up 6% year-on-year and again considerably higher than in pre-lockdown 2020 when it stood at 28.3%.

Brand loyalty has also taken a hit, with over half of consumers (55%) stating that they will gladly switch brands to make use of a coupon. This is up from 52.9% year-on-year, and up 18% from pre-lockdown 2020.

Meanwhile, consumers are continuing to use a range of supermarkets and shops for their weekly grocery shopping. This figure stands at 43.1% of consumers, up marginally from last year at 42.7% and up considerably again from pre-lockdown 2020 where it stood at 37.5%.

The leisure and hospitality sector continues to be under increasing pressure, with weekly visits to pubs and bars down by 6% year-on-year, from 33.7% to 31.7%. Before lockdown 2020 this figure stood at 34.2%.

Visits to restaurants have also dropped this year. Currently 25% of British consumers visit a restaurant each week, which is down 14% year-on-year when it stood at 29% of consumers. In pre-lockdown 2020 this figure was 30.6%.

IPA director of media research Belinda Beeftink said: “Inflation levels may have come down, but prices haven’t followed suit. As the Bank of England says, most things still cost more than they did before.

“As we see from the data, many consumers are still struggling on their current income and as a result of the strain on their purse strings are having to make considered cost-based purchasing choices.

“A focus on value for money and rewarding loyalty may therefore prove vital for brands and their agencies in terms of their communication with their customers in these ongoing tough economic times.”

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