Shopper confidence in the UK has declined to its lowest level in a year in September, according to the latest Shopper Confidence Index from IGD.
The index, which provides category, insight and commercial professionals with trusted shopper insights, highlights that concerns around food price inflation are at their highest since March 2013.
Around 85% of shoppers expect food prices to get more expensive next year compared with 79% in August 2021.
In September, shopper confidence fell to -9, from -4 in August, which is its largest recorded monthly decline and follows a small but consistent decline for the last four months.
Confidence declined steadily throughout September and fell to -14 at the end of the month, data showed.
'A Sobering Read'
Director of global insight at IGD, Simon Wainwright, said, "This month’s Shopper Confidence Index is a sobering read and we anticipate it will be a similar story next month, following the steady decline we’ve seen throughout September."
The overall financial confidence has also fallen sharply in the past month, with 31% of shoppers expecting to be worse off in the year ahead, up 9% compared with August.
Confidence has declined across all shopper demographics, but more so among lower-income households, IGD noted.
Around 42% of lower-income households expect to be worse off in the year ahead, compared with 26% in August.
Confidence among higher-income households has also declined, with 30% expecting to be worse off in the year, from 22% in August 2021.
Savings Over Quality
The index also revealed that 21% of shoppers expect to focus more on saving money over quality next year, up 6% on August 2021.
Wainwright added, "Moving forward, shopper focus will be on value for money and we will see much wider adoption of the 2021 ‘Savvy shopping’ trend as shoppers look to save money, with many switching to private label products, motivated by seeking out savings.
"The discount channel is forecast to be the fastest-growing grocery channel over the next five years and we will see many shoppers shift their shopping behaviour to make cost-savings from this channel."
Shopper confidence is declining across all regions, particularly in the Midlands, where the score for September is 13 points lower than the previous month.
Shoppers above 35 are becoming less confident than those aged 18-34, with confidence declining from 0 to -12 among 35-44-year-olds in September, IGD added.
"Shopper confidence will remain very fragile for the foreseeable future, so retailers and suppliers will need to focus on building loyalty by supporting their customers’ needs by offering value for money," Wainwright concluded.