Consumers are cutting back on entertainment and eating out and buying supermarket own brands to save money, claims a new report

Almost half of consumers (45%) will cut back on eating out while 54% will switch to supermarket own brands to save money, according to new research commissioned by wholesaler Palmer & Harvey.

According to a survey of 2,000 people, conducted by Retail Economics for the wholesaler, consumers are already feeling the impact of rising prices. Many intend to switch products, brands, and supermarkets as well as cut back on eating out in favour of regular home cooking.

A further 35% said they would limit spending on recreational activities such as going to concerts, the cinema and the theatre.

An overwhelming 73% of those questioned agreed they would prefer to stay at home and cook a meal if they felt personal finances were under pressure.

Consumer spending habits could also change the way families approach their weekly food shop, with more than half indicating they would trade down to cheaper own-brand alternatives, while 47% would consider switching to a cheaper supermarket altogether.

This trend was especially prevalent in 16 to 24-year-olds, with two thirds of them suggesting they would happily abandon traditional loyalties.

“Consumers are currently only feeling the thin end of the wedge of rising prices, yet an uncertain political and macroeconomic backdrop and a weaker outlook for personal finances means consumers are less optimistic about the future of the economy and are poised to tighten their belts as inflation outstrips wage growth,” said Palmer & Harvey MD Martyn Ward.

“Our research shows that it will be critical to the success of food and grocery retailers, wholesalers and suppliers to rapidly adapt to changing consumer behaviour, as shoppers shift towards own label, cheaper alternatives and cut back on any non-essentials. Those that quickly grasp the opportunity to evolve their product mix and pricing will be the winners in this challenging environment.”