RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Warnings of “contracting inflation” have spread across social media as shoppers fear paying more for less at the grocery store.
Christopher Herrington, an associate professor of economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, said it was a decades-old strategy that tends to be more common when inflation is high and consumers are more sensitive to price increases. more common.
“Deflationary inflation is kind of like inflation’s evil twin,” Herrington said. “If I was a retailer I wanted to increase the price of what I was selling, but I knew consumers would adapt to that and I could do the opposite by reducing the size or quantity of what I was selling. Yes , it’s sale, without really changing the list price.
These changes are usually very subtle, but A new Morning Consult survey Shows that consumers are catching up.
“A lot of people are noticing deflation in their daily lives,” said Claire Tassin, retail and e-commerce analyst at Morning Consult.
The survey of 2,210 adults from Aug. 19-21 found that 75% of shoppers had noticed a decrease somewhere in the grocery store. The most common offenders are snacks, pantries, and frozen meals.
Around two-thirds of respondents said they were concerned about austerity. This has led some to look for alternatives.
In the survey, 49% of respondents said they had switched to another brand, 48% chose to buy generic products instead of branded products, 33% chose to buy in bulk and 30% completely stopped buying specific brands.
“So this is bad news for brands that want to build customer loyalty. People tend to be very loyal and trust their favorite food brands,” Tasin said. Groceries are indeed fungible, so if something gets too expensive or you feel like you’ve been scammed, it’s pretty easy to switch.”
It’s important for consumers to understand why this is happening, Herrington said.
“Businesses are paying higher costs for labor, transportation, inputs, raw materials in an inflationary environment, so corporate profits are also under pressure,” Herrington said. .
To combat the slump, shoppers should check the price per ounce, pound or sheet on shelf labels, or compare the net weight of the product. If you buy the same item frequently, write down the price and net ounces so you know if you’ve discounted on future purchases.