3 Ways Inflation is Changing Consumer Behavior

Criteo surveyed consumers globally to understand how inflation is influencing their shopping preferences and behavior. Dive into the trends.
Updated on September 26, 2023

Economists are divided on how exactly today’s environment will play out. Some project that rising costs will cool off gradually, while others anticipate that they will sharply decelerate.¹ While the future remains uncertain, the residual impact of inflation on consumers is not going away anytime soon.

In The Rise of Savvy Shoppers, Criteo surveyed more than 12,400 consumers around the world to understand how inflation is influencing their shopping preferences and behavior. Our findings reveal that even amidst higher prices, consumers are finding ways to shop smarter while making room to buy the things they love. Here’s a preview for advertisers to consider. 

For more trends, download the full snapshot—available as a global version as well as ten country-level editions that span the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.

People are heading online in search of the best offers.

Globally, 71% of shoppers are spending more time online to search for offers that will help them get the best value for their money before they make a purchase.

This behavior is consistent throughout countries such as South Korea (69%), the US (73%), Spain (76%), and France (76%). Meanwhile, the trend is especially strong in Australia (80%) and Italy (81%), where rising prices have been surging.

As a result, 57% of shoppers globally say they’re now shopping more online. The share of consumers who report shopping more online is even greater in the US (64%), Australia (66%), and South Korea (70%).

With people spending more time online to both research and act upon better deals, advertisers need to engage the right audiences with impactful advertising everywhere shoppable moments happen. Criteo’s Commerce Growth capabilities help advertisers showcase their brand with intelligent product recommendations that are most likely to generate visits, engagement, and purchases. 

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More online shoppers are buying from multiple retailers.

According to Criteo data based on shopping behaviors across the same set of retail partners, the share of global online shoppers who bought from five or more retailers increased 28% year-over-year in late 2022.²

Some countries exceeded the global average. The share of online shoppers in Japan (32%), the US (48%), and South Korea (59%) who bought from five or more retailers all rose even higher during the same period.³

As more online shoppers buy from multiple retailers, advertisers have greater opportunities to secure loyal buyers and foster more customer lifetime value. Leveraging customer retention strategies can enable advertisers to re-engage their existing first-time shoppers and help them discover more products they’ll love. 

A forward-thinking mindset is accelerating some purchases. 

Consumers are shopping creatively in order to maximize their spending power.  

Source: Criteo Shopper Survey, Nov 20-Dec 13, 2022, AU, DE, ES, FR, IT JP, KR, UK, US, N=12,424. Survey respondents are active internet users and online shoppers.

A full 40% of shoppers globally are buying gifts for future holidays and birthdays ahead of time to get ahead of rising prices. This trend spans consumer habits in Germany (39%), the US (43%), Italy (44%), Australia (44%), France (54%), and Spain (59%).

However, this behavior is not as prominent in APAC. In Japan and South Korea, the share of shoppers who buy gifts ahead of time due to potential price increases is 17% and 23% respectively.

Additionally, 64% of consumers globally are buying essential items (such as detergent and tissues) in bulk to get more value for their money. The trend is particularly strong in Spain (68%), the US (69%), and Australia (71%).

Consumers that think ahead about the items they want to purchase are a strong audience for advertisers to engage. By investing in customer acquisition strategies, advertisers can target hyper-relevant audiences who are actively in-market and ready to buy.  

Monetize audiences that are shopping online more than ever 

During times of economic uncertainty, opportunities to experiment with ad campaigns and engage consumers in fresh, new ways tend to arise. Now, with more people shopping online than ever, the landscape is primed for advertisers to bring even richer digital advertising experiences to their customers. With Criteo’s Commerce Media Platform, advertisers can activate the world’s largest set of first-party commerce data and best-in-class AI to acquire new customers and retain loyal buyers based on retail consumer behavior.  

Download the full The Rise of Savvy Shoppers snapshot for more trends that advertisers should consider for their campaigns. The snapshot is available in eleven downloadable versions: Global, Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, US, and UK. 

¹ The Global Economic Outlook Brightens as Inflation Eases, Seeking Alpha 

² Organic Criteo data. Shopping behaviors observed across the same set of Criteo retail partners across November 13-December 1, 2021 vs. November 12-30, 2022 

³ Organic Criteo data. Shopping behaviors observed across the same set of Criteo retail partners across January 13-19, 2022 vs. January 12-18, 2023 

Elizabeth Kim

Elizabeth Kim is a Global Content Strategist captivated by technology, culture, and consumer behavior. Before joining the world of adtech, Elizabeth crafted brand and content strategies at agencies for clients spanning startups to household name giants. Outside of work, Elizabeth finds creative ...

Global Content Strategist
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