Cost-of-living crisis changes Brits’ shopping habits: Hard-pressed shoppers are bulk buying
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British shoppers are bulk-buying groceries to save money amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, a new report has suggested.
The Barclaycard consumer survey found that 35 per cent of card users were stocking up on everyday items such as tea and coffee, tinned tuna and hygiene products such as shampoo and hand soap.
Buying in bulk can equal less trips to the supermarket – meaning less money spent on increasingly expensive fuel – while there are often savings to be had in buying products at wholesale.
According to the report, gathered using data from March, 13 per cent of shoppers are stocking up on canned tomatoes, baked beans, tuna, pasta, flour, rice and grains.
Meanwhile, 11 per cent are bulk-buying household supplies such as toilet roll, while 10 per cent are stocking up on laundry detergent and shampoo.
At least 10 per cent are also getting extra supplies of tea and coffee.
Shoppers also admitted to bulk buying over-the-counter painkillers (8 per cent), pet food (7 per cent), fizzy drinks (6 per cent), alcohol (5 per cent), Easter eggs and chocolate (5 per cent) and baby supplies (3 per cent).
José Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: ‘Many sectors saw strong growth in March compared to the same period in 2019, as sunnier weather encouraged Brits to socialise at pubs and bars, book staycations and update their wardrobes for spring and summer.
‘However, rising fuel prices and household bills are clearly starting to influence consumer behaviour, with many Brits changing their travel and shopping habits to save money.
While this may dampen growth in the months ahead, we shouldn’t overlook the expected heatwave later in April, and the fast-approaching Easter holidays, both of which are likely to boost non-essential spending.’
The data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed that spending on essential items grew 18.1 per cent in March, the highest uplift since September 2021.
However this was largely driven by spend on fuel, which soared 26.1 per cent as prices at the pump continued to climb.
Card spending in general grew 17.7 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2019, as Brits took advantage of the sunnier weather and lifting of all remaining Covid restrictions to visit pubs, dine out, and update their wardrobes in preparation for the months ahead.
However, the cost of living is causing increasing concern for most UK adults, with travel plans and shopping preferences changing in response to rising fuel and food prices.
Some two fifths of drivers (41 per cent) said they are changing the way they travel.
Of these, over half (54 per cent) are walking more often, almost two-fifths (38 per cent) are cutting back on long car journeys, and 22 per cent are opting to cycle instead.
Supermarkets saw a 16.9 per cent jump in card spendings – higher than the growth recorded in both January (15.5 per cent) and February (16.0 per cent) this year – but much of this was likely due to inflation and rising food prices.
Spending on essentials was also boosted by a demand for convenience and the popularity of local shopping, with food and drink specialist stores (butchers, bakeries and online meal-kit providers) up by 76.9 per cent compared with three years ago.
Barclaycard made comparisons with three years ago because consumer spending was so heavily affected by the lockdowns in March 2020 and March 2021.