Inflation Rates Higher for High Income Vs. Low Income Consumers for the First Time; Gen Z Most Impacted Generation With 20% Grocery Price Increases

CHICAGO, June 9, 2022 (GlobeNewswire) – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has released its latest inflation insights to measure the impact of rising prices, with added context by consumer ethnicity, generation, income level, and urbanicity. Weekly data updates include price tracking based on verified consumer purchase data and consumer sentiment based on an ongoing survey of 10,000+ consumers. Overall, May grocery inflation reached record highs as prices for health & beauty and household products held steady, and the heaviest inflation impacts shifted from low income to middle and high income consumers for the first time.

“As inflation puts pressure on household budgets, consumers are changing behaviors by the day,” said Eric Belcher, CEO, Numerator. “With a faster, more holistic view of grocery inflation than has traditionally been available, Numerator provides brands the data they need to quickly react to shifting behaviors.”

Sector Level Findings: 

  • Grocery prices increased sharply in May 2022. For the four-week period ending May 29, grocery prices were up 14.6% vs. YA, growing from +12.1% in early May – the steepest increase seen since tracking began in June 2021.
  • Health & beauty prices continue to show signs of stabilization. Health & beauty prices were up 10.3% vs. YA, down from early 2022 levels.
  • Household items’ rate of inflation reached new highs in May 2022. Prices for household items were up 15.7% vs. YA, surpassing the previous peak of 14.5% in February 2022.

Grocery Inflation Findings:

  • Online remains the most impacted channel. For the four-week period ending May 29, grocery inflation was highest in the online and dollar channels (+22.5% and 19.5% vs YA, respectively). Both channels have seen significant growth in inflation rates in 2022, compared to the mass (+13.7% vs. YA), food (+12.9%), and club (+8%) channels.
  • Club stores continue to have the most stable grocery prices in 2022. As 2022 inflation rates increased in all other tracked channels, club stores have maintained grocery inflation rates between +6.9% and +8.2% vs YA.
  • Middle income consumers are paying the greatest price increases of any income level income group. While middle income consumers are seeing the highest grocery inflation rates at 15.2% vs. YA, high income consumers overtook low income consumers in terms of inflationary impact for the first time in May 2022.
  • Gen Z rate of inflation approaches +20% vs YA – the highest of any demographic cohort. Gen Z consumers significantly pulled away from other generations in May, jumping from +14.3% at the beginning of the month to +19.8% by the end of the month.
  • Black consumers remain most impacted by inflation, though the gap has narrowed. Black consumers continue to face the highest inflation levels (+14.8%) across ethnic groups, though White/Caucasian (+14.7%) and Hispanic/Latino (+14.5%) trail by less than one percentage point.

Consumer Sentiment Findings: 

  • Gen Z continues to show the lowest levels of financial confidence. Just over 1 in 3 Gen Z consumers (35.5%) reported their financial situation as “good” or “very good” – trailing Millennials and Gen X by 14 points and Boomers+ by 17 points.
  • Urban households are facing a recent financial squeeze. Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) urban consumers said they did not have extra cash in early June, an increase of 2 points since early May. In the same timeframe, the percentage of urban consumers who said they would put extra funds into savings dropped by 2 points, down to 32.5% of consumers.
  • All ethnic minority groups saw recent upticks in financial insecurity. More than one quarter of Asian consumers (25.8%) say they do not have spare cash, and this number grew throughout May among both Hispanic/Latino (24.9%) and Black consumers (23.9%). The percentage of White/Caucasian consumers saying the same has remained flat throughout the past six months (22.1%).
    • Black consumers are significantly more likely than other ethnicities to say they would put extra funds in savings (40.4%) or pay down debts (37.5%).
  • Travel intentions are highest among Millennial consumers. 27.3% of Millennials say they would use extra funds for travel, surpassing both Gen X (26.4%) and Boomers+ (26.1%) in May.
  • Early June financial optimism leveled off and pessimism increased. Consumers rating their financial situation as “good” or “very good” leveled off at 48.8% – down from 52.3% in early April. Those rating their finances as “poor” or “very poor” rose from 11.6% to 14.9% in the same timeframe.

Methodology: Percent changes in Numerator’s Price Pulse are calculated at a category level. Average price per item within a category is based on verified purchase data from over 100,000 Numerator panelists (demographically weighted to the current US census), and the average price from the past four weeks is compared versus the same period one year ago. The Price Pulse includes a cross-channel view of prices, as well as channel-specific views and cuts by consumer demographic groups. Numerator’s Financial Outlook Tracker leverages an ongoing survey that collects approximately 10,000 responses from active shoppers each week. Consumers are asked to rate their current financial situation in addition to sharing spending intentions. The tracker has additional breakouts by ethnicity, generation, income level, and urbanicity.

About Numerator:

Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Numerator blends first-party data from over 1 million US households with advanced technology to provide 360-degree consumer understanding for the market research industry that has been slow to change. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has 2,000 employees worldwide. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.


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