Inflation Investigation: How High and Who’s at Risk?

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Gas, groceries top price hikes, but apparel and footwear in the hot seat

Consumers agree that higher prices are impacting their everyday lives. While as many as 66 percent felt soaring gas prices were a pain in their day to day, 57 percent agreed that what they’re paying for groceries affects their lives as well, according to a First Insight survey.

But apparel, footwear and accessories costs are also affecting consumers’ daily lives, with 19 percent of consumers saying so in the product decision platform’s survey. So far, the industry has benefited from the price increases, and dangled fewer promotions since demand picked up over the 2021 holiday season. But if prices keeping climbing, there is a risk that consumers will quickly face a limit on how much they want—or are able—to spend.

“Soaring gas and food prices are just the tip of the iceberg for consumers today,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight, which sampled 1,000 U.S. adults in April 2022. “Record high prices on essential items will negatively impact both consumers’ confidence and their spending power. Some categories, such as apparel, footwear, accessories, travel and entertainment may struggle as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.

“It will be critically important for companies to remain close to their customer base to predict how they are going to respond to all the changes out there,” Petro added.

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