The Data Point: 61% of US Shoppers Gravitate to Basics as Inflation Presses Down

Diligently tracking the movements and metrics of consumers in the connected economy, we’ve identified four important new consumer personas and facts about their buying behaviors.

Based in a census-balanced survey of nearly 2,800 consumers, PYMNTS’ new study ‘The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: 3 Ways Consumers Are Dealing With Inflation – April 2022’ introduces us to the “live large” persona who like higher-ticket electronics and décor; the “splurge a little” consumer who enjoys a few fun purchases; the “stick to the essentials” persona focused on fueling up and health and food items; and the “don’t need much” consumers live up to their moniker, buying infrequently and only as need dictates.

These data make the case for a connected consumer feeling inflation and uncertainty.

Table 1

  • 61% of U.S. consumers are now shopping mostly for basics and essentials such as gas, health products, food and beverages.

With “stick to essentials” clearly at work here, the study states, “Gasoline is the single most common purchase “stick to the essentials” consumers make, with 65% of this group, or 101 million consumers, having purchased gas in the last month. Just 48% of them bought health or personal care items during that time, and 24% bought non-alcoholic food and beverages.”

Figure 2

  • March was the second consecutive month that just 40% of U.S. consumers made online retail purchases — the lowest engagement rate in five months.

You know what they say about what goes up. After two years of unstoppable growth, the April ConnectedEconomy™ report notes that “eCommerce sales in the U.S. have stagnated in the past few weeks. The amount of consumers making retail purchases online dropped down from a peak of 42% in January. This may seem like a small difference, but it translates to 7 million fewer consumers making eCommerce purchases than just a few months ago.”

Figure 6

  • 46% of consumers, placed restaurant orders online in March, down 7% from January

Restaurant ordering and dining are an economic bellwether, and with inflation at a 40-year high it’s unsurprising that we would see some drop off in online restaurant orders. Per the study, “the share of consumers ordering from restaurants online was down for the second consecutive month in March, with just 46% of consumers ordering food online. This is down from 47% who did so in February and 50% who did so in January.”

Get the study: The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: 3 Ways Consumers Are Dealing With Inflation – April 2022