PwC report: As the cost of living has risen, 96% of consumers adopted saving behaviours and over two-thirds reduced their non-essential spending

17 Feb 2023

Bucharest, 17 February 2023 - More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers globally have reduced their non-essential spending and the majority (96%) have adopted cost-saving behaviours, as prices hit record highs around the world, according to the PwC Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey 2023.

Over the next six months, consumers plan to reduce their spending in all categories surveyed, with the largest decreases forecast for luxury/premium or designer goods (53%), travel (43%) and clothing (41%). Food, on the other hand, will decline the least, by 24%.

"Last year, most countries saw record inflation, interest rates on loans rose and consumers had to cut back on non-essential spending and turn to cheaper alternatives to save money. The survey shows that more and more people are looking for sales and special offers and turned to the cheaper “private labels” of retailers. In order to succeed in this difficult macroeconomic environment and retain customers, retailers need to leverage and diversify distribution channels, offer competitive prices and invest in greater supply chain resilience. The price growth trend will continue this year, although at a slower pace", said Ruxandra Târlescu, Partner and Retail Industry Leader at PwC Romania.

Cost of living influences consumer confidence

Half of consumers surveyed say they feel worried about their personal financial situation and 96% plan to adopt cost-saving behaviours in the next six months.

Almost half (49%) of consumers say they buy certain products when they are on sale/special offer, 46% turn to retailers that offer better value for money, 40% use comparison sites to find cheaper alternatives, 34% buy in bulk to save money, and 32% buy retailers' "private labels" to save money.

Demographically, Generation X is "most concerned" (47%) and has taken action on non-essential spending, Baby Boomers are "somewhat concerned" (33%) and are taking action, while Millennials are "concerned" but not changing their behavior.

Rising prices - the most pressing problem

More than half of consumers (56%) said that price increases are the most common problem when shopping in-store, but they are equally concerned about not finding products in stock (42%) and the inconvenience of standing in long queues (39%).

In what concerns online shopping, rising prices (48%), product availability (24%) and longer than expected delivery times (24%) are the main concerns reported.

Shopping in physical stores remains largely flat year-on-year as the most common means of consumption in 2022 (43%), while the use of smartphones (34%), PCs (23%) and tablets (15%) have declined marginally.

The Global Consumer Insights Survey interviewed 9,180 consumers in 25 countries worldwide.

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Ruxandra Târlescu, Partner and Retail Industry Leader at PwC Romania

Ruxandra Târlescu
Partner and Retail Industry Leader
PwC Romania

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Marketing and Communication Leader, PwC Romania

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