As the #1 rewards app, Fetch Rewards captures consumer trends as they emerge, using our precise purchase data to provide insights into ever-changing, omni-channel shopper behaviors. With over 13 million monthly active users sharing their receipts from all retailers with Fetch Rewards, our data analysts have been gathering rich shopping data and have curated insights on evolving purchasing and inflation trends.
With inflation in the United States climbing at the highest rate in nearly 40 years, CPG leaders are navigating how rising prices will impact their business in 2022. Fetch Rewards can capture approximately 95% of purchase behavior, providing partner brands with a real-time view into consumers’ habits, wallets, and insights that help brands stay ahead of the curve.
Here are five inflation-driven insights from the Fetch team’s analysis grounded in social listening and purchase data over the last two years…
- Inflation is becoming more top-of-mind for consumers
The volume of online conversation about inflation has tripled since 2020. Back then, people were talking about money, the market, interest rates, and adjusting for inflation. In 2021, the conversation shifted towards the economy, rising rates, President Biden, Americans and high inflation, with sentiment slightly more negative than the previous year.
- Consumer spending remains stable as grocery costs rise (for now)
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, during 2021, food prices increased 6.3 percent, a larger percentage increase than the 12-month increase of 3.9 percent in 2020 (bls.gov). Fetch data confirmed the average unit price paid on grocery products is at an all-time-high over the past 24 months, currently at $4.04 up from $3.73 at the beginning of 2021. However, units per household, an indicator of demand, remained steady over the last 6 months despite increases in prices, but for how long? Demand is deflated vs. 2020, but pandemic driven bulk buying behavior had a significant role to play. In a nutshell, demand has declined at a slower pace than price increases.
- Club and Dollar stores are holding prices steady
So far, the impact of inflation has been reflected most in Liquor, Drug, and Mass stores. Meanwhile, Club and Dollar stores have continued to provide value to their consumers by delaying price increases and almost maintaining YOY prices. However, this is one trend to keep an eye on, as Dollar Tree recently decided to raise prices on the majority of its products to $1.25.
- Liquor and snacks trump personal hygiene during times of inflation
Even though prices of snacks, cookies, candy, liquid refreshments, and spirits went up in 2021, demand was steady, indicating that consumers are not quite ready to sacrifice the comforts of these pricier categories.
Meanwhile, personal hygiene became more of a “nice to do” vs. “must do” with hygiene product demand down significantly. Prices for daily hair care, bath tissue and personal wash went up, deterring consumers. That, alongside people continuing to work and spend more time at home has them feeling less of a need to stay fresh.
The category trend is also reflected at the brand level, where we see leading CPG companies experience different degrees of price impact. Essential food and snack brands have seen minimal depletion in demand despite increased prices, while companies with personal care and household categories that are more sensitive to price increases will need to pivot their strategy.
As prices continue to fluctuate and rise, brands must monitor the tradeoffs that consumers are (and are not) willing to make to balance the effects of inflation.
- Understanding pricing trends can help win back price-sensitive consumers
As brands compete for share of wallet, knowing which day of the week consumers are shopping and finding the best prices is critical to pricing and promotional strategies.
For example, brands already know that certain products, like meat, rise during periods of inflation, driving down demand. Fetch Rewards’ real-time data on category pricing trends (for example, the lowest meat prices are on Thursdays, while potential frozen substitutes are priced lowest on Wednesdays) can guide brands in adjusting their strategy with targeted offers to re-engage price-sensitive consumers.
As brands, consumers, and the Fed react to rapid demand, supply chain disruptions, and rising housing costs that continue to fuel an inflationary burst, brand partners can count on Fetch Rewards for real-time data and insights to help inform their business strategies, protect market share, and increase sales.
Connect with the team at Fetch Rewards to learn about driving incremental ROI, first-party data strategy, and more. Reach out for a demo on how we can help you learn more about consumers and customers to grow your business.
Consumer Price Index: 2021 in review : The Economics Daily: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)
Fetch Proprietary Data SPK-202_Inflation Insights: Inflation Insights – Tableau