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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.

A woman holds her head as she looks at a laptop screen.
(Image credit: 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. It also found that 72% of consumers are responding to inflation by shifting their shopping behaviors to buying generic or lower-priced products. About one-third are limiting purchases of nonessential items. Clothing and accessories, followed by groceries, were the top categories where consumers are limiting spending, and 61% said they are eating out less often.

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.

What can marketers do?

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

Cesaro told SmartBrief that 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. 

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, which Meta recently highlighted in a marketing playbook, is a good way to not only demonstrate empathy with shoppers, but also to listen and better understand what consumers are facing.

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