Consumers are starting to feel slightly better about the economy, but unfortunately they will not be celebrating with a favorite meal delivered to their doorstep.
A recent survey by Numerator shows 57% of buyers have a high level of concern regarding the economy, which is down seven points vs. January. However, when it comes to spending cutbacks, restaurants, bars and food delivery lead the way, as 39% of those surveyed say they are going to spend less on those entities in the coming weeks. Furthermore, 25% plan on cutting back on snacks and candy purchases as well as alcohol (24%) and health and beauty products (19%). More than 1,000 consumers took the Numerator survey, and all of them are active members of the company’s 100,000-person OmniPanel.
Even though feelings about the economy are calming a bit, a convincing 73% say rising prices on essential goods and services is a main economic concern, and the same percentage believe inflation will increase in the near future. Sixty-four percent of spenders think the country is experiencing an economic recession, while 65% are convinced the economy will worsen in the next few months.
Food inflation was up 10.1% in January, compared with year-ago levels, including an 11.3% increase in food-at-home prices, according to the January Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Egg prices continued to soar and were up 70.1% year-over-year amid the ongoing impact of the avian flu outbreak that has decimated the nation’s stock of egg-laying hens. On a monthly basis, egg prices were up 8.5% over December 2022 levels.
Some reports indicate that retail egg prices could begin to ease, however, as wholesale prices have fallen.
Among the major grocery categories, cereals and bakery products led the price increases in the latest food-at-home index.
Many might think the sour mood would result in massive personal spending cutbacks, but according to the latest Numerator data people are not expecting to cut back on things like dining out (only 39% say they will spend less) and travel (34%). Consumers also are slightly more comfortable with discretionary spending.
Personal finances remain the top primary concern by a wide margin across all income levels. Almost 50% are watching their savings carefully. Coming in second at just 13% is world events. Seventy-two percent are against taking money out of their personal savings or retirement account to cover expenses now.