Consumers Are Switching to Lower-Priced Brands: Report

But advertising, social media still influence purchases

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Just as they did during the pandemic, consumers are adapting to new marketplace realities.

Currently, record inflation has replaced the coronavirus as the top-of-mind consumer concern, and shoppers are reacting accordingly.

A new poll by Jungle Scout, an e-commerce consultancy for Amazon sellers, found that inflation is impacting the spending habits of more than three out of four consumers, and that fully 59% of shoppers are trading down to less expensive brands to cut costs, which is taking a toll on brand loyalty.

According to the survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers, fielded May 6 through May 10, willingness to switch to a new brand if it’s more affordable increased by 12% quarter over quarter. And 48% of respondents said they are more likely to shop a brand that has consistently lower prices.

See: Inflation is Finally Catching Up to Consumers

Among demographic groups, millennials (roughly ages 26 to 41) are least likely to switch brands to save money, with only 35% of that generational cohort indicating a willingness to do so.

Conversely, baby boomers (ages 58 and older), including many retirees on a fixed budget, are nearly twice as likely as millennials to forgo some products altogether to cut household costs.

That said, consumers are still spending, and their purchase decisions are still influenced to a significant degree by social media and advertising. The poll showed that more than a third (35%) of respondents have purchased a product after watching a social media brand’s livestream, and 48% read social media comments to learn what’s being said about a brand. What’s more, 42% said that being “followed” around the Internet by ads is “a helpful reminder” (although 32% said they are “creeped out” by the digital tactic).

Related: Put Your Marketing Pedal to the Metal

Consumers also cited YouTube as the most trusted social media platform for finding and buying products (61%), followed by Facebook (51%), Instagram (45%) and LinkedIn and Twitter (tied at 37% each).

“Despite concerns about inflation, consumers are still investing in the retail economy,” with many turning to e-commerce for the best deals, said Jungle Scout CMO Mike Scheschuk. “What’s changing is the products consumers buy and the factors that influence their purchase decisions. Brands need to reassess their strategy as social media and affordability reshape the retail landscape. By optimizing their online presence, brands can engage with customers, better understand their needs and secure loyalty in these uncertain economic times.”

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