Most Brits have started noticing “skimpflation” in grocery and household items while “shrinkflation” continues to bother most shoppers, state a recent consumer spending report, which states that chocolate, crisps and biscuits are some products that are impacted by both.
The observation, made in a report released by Barclays today (5), shows that British consumer spending growth lost pace last month, adding to signs of a weakening economy. Overall spend in grocery increased by 4.5 per cent in August 2023. However, this is the lowest year-on-year spend growth seen since October 2022, as the rate of food and drink inflation continues to decrease.
Consumers continue to seek value in their weekly shops, with 52 per cent buying budget or own-brand goods over branded goods. In addition, 26 per cent are only buying items that are discounted, whilst 12 per cent are removing some items when they get to the checkout, to avoid going over budget.
The report adds that over half (52 per cent) of Brits have noticed that some of the food and drink products they buy have been downgraded in terms of quality or the quantity of premium ingredients, yet still cost the same or more than they used to – otherwise known as “skimpflation”.
Within this group, the most frequently cited skimpflation examples include crisps (44 per cent), sweets and chocolate (43 per cent), and cakes and biscuits (36 per cent). A fifth also feel takeaways (22 per cent) and restaurant meals (20 per cent) are decreasing in quality without a corresponding fall in price.
The impact of “skimpflation” goes beyond food and drink. Two fifths (41 per cent) have noticed that the standards of some of the (non-food) products and services they buy have been downgraded, yet still cost the same or more. These shoppers are most noticing the declining quality of clothing, chosen by 44 per cent, closely followed by toilet paper (43 per cent), and toiletries/cosmetics (37 per cent).
In addition, “Shrinkflation” continues to be front of mind for the majority of shoppers (84 per cent), with chocolate (54 per cent), crisps (47 per cent) and packs of biscuits (43 per cent) remaining the top products identified as being impacted by this ongoing trend.
The report also adds that the majority of shoppers are buying budget or own-brand goods over branded items, as well as cutting down on luxuries or one-off treats for themselves (both 52 per cent). A quarter (26 per cent) are only buying items that are discounted, and 12 per cent are removing some items when they get to the checkout, to avoid going over budget.
As Autumn begins, some Brits are already looking ahead to their Christmas shopping plans. Almost a third (31 per cent) expect this coming Christmas to be more expensive than last year, while a fifth (19 per cent) are worried about being able to keep up with outgoing costs. One in five (17 per cent) savvy savers has also started to put money aside to help fund their festivities, states the report.
Esme Harwood, director at Barclays, said, “The rainy weather impacted high street and hospitality venues in August, but Brits were still keen to spend on memorable summer experiences. The huge Box Office success of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ meant entertainment enjoyed another strong month, while holidays abroad boosted international travel and pharmacy, health & beauty stores.
“Shrinkflation – and now “skimpflation” – are increasing concerns for value-seeking shoppers. However, Brits’ confidence in their household finances is unwavering, suggesting they remain resilient in the face of these inflationary pressures.”