Even Amid Budgetary Pressures, Grocery Shoppers Splurge on Treats

grocery shopper

Inflation may be impacting how consumers shop for groceries, but the vast majority continue to carve out room in their budgets for nice-to-have foods and beverages, PYMNTS data reveals.

By the Numbers

The majority of consumers still buy nonessential items at the grocery store, according to data from the new installment of PYMNTS’ series “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report,” a PYMNTS and LendingClub collaboration.

The Nonessential Spending Deep Dive Edition, which draws from a July survey of more than 3,400 U.S. consumers, reveals that three-quarters of all consumers buy “nice-to-have” items at the grocery store at least sometimes.

consumer splurge spending

Even those whose budgets are pressured do so. Fifty-nine percent of consumers living paycheck to paycheck with issues paying bills reported that they purchase these nonessential items at least some of the time.

The Data in Context

Indeed, food brands maintain that consumers continue to spring for affordable luxuries at times when their ability to purchase larger nonessential items is diminished.

“Chocolate and Salty Snacks, rank as two of the top three resilient treats that consumers are not willing to forgo,” Hershey Company CEO Michele Buck told analysts earlier this year. “Chocolate moments are such a heavily integrated part of consumers’ weekly routines, from rewarding moments to stress relief to self-care, and everything in between, that they indicate they would rather cut back on other expenses to make room for chocolate because they love it so much and it’s affordable.”

In a February interview with PYMNTS, Leslie Polizzotto, co-founder and owner of New York City doughnut shop The Doughnut Project in Manhattan’s West Village, noted that consumers remain willing to pay for a pricy doughnut at a time when they may not be able to afford, say, a meal from a high-end restaurant.

“My brand is not like Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme. They’re not my competitors. I like to say we’re the Prada of doughnuts, not H&M. [The doughnuts] range from basically $4.75 to $6.75 in price range each,” Polizzotto said. “So, you’re paying a premium to get my product, and the price doesn’t seem to faze people.”