Inflation is Impacting Consumer Attitudes in Q4, but Opportunities Remain.

Posted by Leger ● Nov 22, 2022 7:30:00 AM

As inflation remains high in Q4, consumers’ concerns are impacting their life, purchasing and outlook, according to recent findings from our online quantitative Q4 Consumer Sentiment Study.

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360 Market Reach’s U.S. Consumer Sentiment Study tracks changing consumer attitudes so that brands can meet them where they are with their strategies, including brand messaging, innovation, and product development. The study tracks consumer attitudes each quarter, including attitudes toward health & wellness, travel, and finances.

Quick link: Download the Q4 Consumer Sentiment Study

Key findings for Q4 include:

  • Seventy percent of Americans cite inflation as one of their top three concerns.
  • Most consumers surveyed (91%) feel we are already in a recession (33%), heading for a recession within the next year (46%) or worse (in a depression – 12%).

Consumers want to “adapt” and are taking on a minimalist mindset.

As inflation and perceptions of a recession loom, the notion of “adapting” is on the slight rise with consumers.

  • 30% say “We have to keep changing, learning to adapt, and finding new, better ways to live”.
  • Consumers are adjusting their spending where they can, including shopping at discount stores more, eating out less, staying in more often and avoiding things like buying expensive meal kits.

As predicted in our Q1 2022 Trends report, minimalism is emerging as one way consumers are adapting. The Q4 Consumer Sentiment Study found that consumers are now seeking to declutter their life and focus on what matters most.

  • 76% say “I need to start getting rid of things I don't need in my life”.
  • 76% say “I plan to direct my energy to the important things in my life instead of material possessions.

Consumers are seeking new ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

consumers want a healthy lifestyleWith prices rising during inflation, consumers say it’s getting harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to eating healthy. But staying healthy is still a priority.

Brands may want to consider the opportunity to meet consumers where they are with their healthy, yet budget-conscious mindset.

  • 80% indicate that “it’s important to maintain a healthy diet without breaking the bank”.
  • 69% say “I would buy healthy brands if they weren't so expensive.
  • 54% say “I will wait to buy healthier products until they are offered at a discounted price”.

Finding new ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle while groceries prices remain high may be driving increased popularity for private label brands. There is a trend from “cheap” private labels to “private brands” which are mid-market, in-house alternatives to CPG market leaders. Target’s in-house private label brands are a good example. Target recently reported that they are investing more in their Good & Gather meal option line, as well as their Favorite Day “treats” brand.

Attitudes toward travel remain positive as the pandemic wanes.

Consumer attitudes toward travelSimilar to our findings in Q3, consumers in Q4 indicate that they see the travel industry recovering and that they are feeling more safe traveling again.

  • 17% indicate they see the travel industry recovering and feel safer traveling, which is up from 10% at the beginning of 2022.
  • 27% indicate that “Traveling gives us an opportunity to connect with family, friends and meet new people around the world”, which is up from 17% at the beginning of the year.

According to news outlets, rising costs have not yet affected consumers’ willingness to travel. Flexible work arrangements make it easier for consumers to satisfy their need to reconnect and travel. Several airline CEOs say that work from home policies make it possible for people to travel more. Additionally, Airbnb reported record profits for Q3 with news outlets reporting that demand for non-hotel stays is at an all-time high.

Looking ahead to 2023.

With seven in ten Americans citing inflation as one of their top three concerns and with more than 90% indicating they feel we are already in a recession or headed for one, consumer sentiment for 2023 appears to be closely tied to the U.S economy. To see the full results for Q4 and all of 2022, download the full Q4 Consumer Sentiment Study.

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About the Consumer Sentiment Study.

The quarterly Sentiment Study is a quantitative research tracking study conducted among 1,000 U.S. consumers, 18 and older. The online survey gauges consumer sentiment in the categories the areas of overall consumer optimism, as well as optimism in the areas of travel, health & wellness and finances. By consistently tracking consumer responses quarterly over time, Leger USA can identify trends, changes in consumer attitudes and potential opportunities for brands.


Topics: Consumer Sentiment