A study from First Insight Report on the state of consumer spending found half of all consumers surveyed believe that high prices will remain for the next six to 18 months. Twenty percent said inflation will last between 18 months to two years, while another 20 percent said inflation will last over two years. Rising food prices were the biggest concern for 68 percent of respondents, with nearly half at 48 percent also concerned about food shortages. And since First Insight’s April survey, more respondents at 80 percent said they have less confidence to spend, versus 74 percent in April. Twenty-eight percent said they are saving less, with 18 percent tapping their savings accounts to pay for the increased costs of living expenses.
“As inflation remains at the highest levels seen in the U.S. since 1981, consumers continue to find different ways to afford things,” Greg Petro, First Insight’s CEO, said. Putting food on the table was deemed a priority by 59 percent of respondents, Petro said. Only 10 percent said spending on apparel, footwear and accessories was a priority. One bright spot since the April survey has been an “increase in spending on work-related apparel” as more update their back-to-office options.
That might seem in conflict with the Consumer Price Index‘s latest numbers in the U.S., which suggests that inflation may have peaked. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday said the inflation in July was 8.5 percent, dipping from 9.1 percent for the period through from June. Retail apparel prices dipped 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, in July from the previous month.