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Americans Feeling Inflation's Impact

Specialty Food Association

About 85 percent of Americans report that inflation has had a moderate or larger impact on their day-to-day life, according to a survey by L.E.K. Consulting that included over 2,500 Americans in October. Nearly 90 percent said inflation has changed how they spend on food, beverage, cars, and gas.

The survey also revealed that inflation challenges are especially acute for Americans earning less than $50,000 per year, with nearly 60 percent of the demographic being significantly impacted. While those earning more than $200,000 per year appear relatively insulated, 30 percent reported significant inflationary impacts.

Across generations, over 50 percent of Millennials and Gen X are feeling the pressures more than Gen Z or Boomers.

"A huge group of Americans has felt an effect in their lives from inflation," said Chris Randall, L.E.K. managing director, in a statement. “This cuts across income levels and generations and is directly affecting how consumers are spending their money. Decision-makers across consumer-facing industries should keep this in mind as they plan strategies for 2023.”

Eighty-eight percent of restaurant-goers noted that inflation has impacted their spending when eating out. This has caused 60 percent to eat out less frequently. At the grocery store, consumers are trading down grocery item types for budget-friendly alternatives to lower costs.

"Broadly speaking, inflation is having an undeniable impact on how Americans are spending their money, as they attempt to avoid the worst of it. In fact, depending on the category or item, anywhere from 50 percent to 85 percent of consumers have changed their spending behaviors due to inflation," said Randall. "Inflation is only being absorbed by the consumer in the most necessary and unavoidable non-discretionary categories, namely rent and utilities."

Related: IRI: Private Label Experiences Modest Gains; Consumer Coalition Says Digital Discounts Have Discriminatory Effect