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The cost of living crisis and changing consumer behaviours- revisited March 2023

By 5 April 2023Blog, Insights


The continued squeeze on consumer spending power is a subject that needs no introduction as it continues to dominate headlines.

In the summer of last year, we ran a survey to explore how respondents from our in-house ‘LaunchPilot’ panel  were coping with the rising cost of living. As expected, many were feeling the pinch and worried about future struggles. Now, three months into 2023 we find out from 1,017 LaunchPilots (the friendly term we use for our panelists) whether value for money remains the front-runner in their purchasing decisions.

Have concerns surrounding managing expenses eased in March 2023 compared to the highs we noted back in June 2022?

In case you missed it, key findings in our June 2022 survey revealed 4 in 5 LaunchPilots surveyed reported experiencing difficulty managing their household expenses vs. 6 months prior and a further 4 in 5 anticipated struggles moving into 2023. Unsurprisingly, 8 months on from our last survey, 4 in 5 LaunchPilots surveyed in March 2023 are still reporting difficulty managing their household expenses (82%).

Future concerns remain elevated as we move further into 2023- 7 in 10 anticipate further difficulty managing their household expenses in the next 6 months (72%). It’s clear that difficult times continue to lie ahead for consumers, retailers and FMCG brands alike.

What trends are we seeing when it comes to inflation and shopper behaviour?

Brands are undoubtedly still feeling the effects as consumers continue to make changes to the products they usually buy. Three-quarters of LaunchPilots surveyed told us they are checking for offers when shopping for their household groceries. Over half are making a shopping list to manage their budgets more closely (54%) and just under half are switching to store own brands (47%).

Bargain-hunting behaviours are clearly coming into play with over 4 in 10 LaunchPilots surveyed saving money on their household groceries by shopping in multiple stores (45%) and buying from discounter stores (41%), underlining the pressure brands and retailers are under as it becomes evident that existing consumer loyalty cannot be taken for granted in such difficult times.

Which grocery categories appear to be showing shifts in consumer behaviours? 

Fresh fruit, veg, fresh meat, and dairy are key categories where LaunchPilots report buying less- more than 3 in 10 reporting buying less in these categories. A similar proportion told us they are considering buying less in these product categories moving forward into the next 6 months.

For household cleaning products, 3 in 10 are buying stores-own label and over 2 in 10 are only buying these products on offer or buying a different/cheaper brand (27%). Almost one-third would consider buying stores own-label household cleaning products in the next 6 months (31%). The trading down to own-label trend continues to accelerate and competition is fierce out there with own-label products continuing to steal market share from branded products. In fact, Kantar reports sales of own-label grocery ranges have increased by 13.2% in Feb 2023 (vs 4.6% growth for branded products).

Ensuring your brand remains top of mind has never been more important

Here at Launchpad, we have experience in research solutions to help you further understand shopper intentions during an economic downturn. Get in touch with us to find out more!

Don’t miss our next blog that takes a deeper look at the areas LaunchPilots report cutbacks in spending outside of groceries, as well as the behaviours they have implemented to make and save money as a result.


References used:
LaunchPilot Cost of Living survey was asked to N=1,017 LaunchPilot panel members, March 2023
Kantar 2022