In a new global survey by Ipsos, 62% of Britons say they have seen the cost of food, goods and services increase since the coronavirus outbreak. A third say costs have stayed the same while 6% have seen a decrease. This is largely in line with the global average; 60% in 26 countries around the world have seen an increase in the cost of living.
This is despite half (51%) of Britons feeling their travel costs have decreased since the start of the crisis with only 6% seeing an increase (more than the global average, where roughly a third (36%) have seen a fall in transportation costs). Instead, two in three Britons (65%) say the cost of food, groceries and household supplies have increased, while 30% say they seen an increase in utility bills, and 25% are spending more on entertainment.
Almost 6 in 10 (58%) Britons say costs have increased due to the need to purchase more expensive items or delivery charges due to store closures or supply shortages since the outbreak of COVID-19. Three in ten say they have incurred additional costs through purchasing new/ more/ better goods and services or by spending more time at home, such as higher bills (both 31%).
Impact of coronavirus on prices around the world
Three in five people (60%) in an online poll of nearly 18,000 adults aged 16-74 conducted from May 22 to June 5 in 26 countries say costs overall have increased somewhat or a lot with those in Argentina, South Africa and Mexico (81%), Turkey (80%), Chile and Belgium (79%) at the top of the list.
At the other end, around a quarter of people in Hungary (27%) and South Korea (26%) say costs have decreased somewhat or a lot since the outbreak began, followed by Japan and Russia (21%).
By region, people in Latin America are most likely to say costs have increased at 75%, followed by those in the Middle East and Africa at 72%.
What’s increased, stayed the same or decreased?
Almost two-thirds of people globally (63%) said the cost of food, groceries and household supplies increased since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Utility bills, which include water, electricity, heating, air conditioning, phone/TV/internet services, is the second biggest cost people said increased at an average of 39%. Those in Turkey (74%), Chile (68%), and Malaysia (65%) are most likely to cite this.
Other costs that a significant portion of people said increased is for personal care and body products and services (28%), followed by healthcare (27%), and entertainment (25%) products and services.
More than a third (36%) said transportation such as using vehicles, buses, trains and fuel costs have decreased – likely a result of less travel as restrictions forced people to work from home. A majority of people in Turkey (56%) cited this, followed by Malaysia (52%), Great Britain (51%) and Canada (50%).
A quarter (26%) said the cost of apparel such as clothing, shoes and accessories decreased – reflecting fewer purchases as retail outlets closed brick and mortar stores. People in South Korea and Turkey (46%) are most likely to agree with this.
Why have costs increased for people?
In terms of why people think costs increased for them – half (50%) said it is because they had to purchase more expensive items or pay delivery charges due to store closures and a shortage of supplies since COVID-19. But at the same time, an equal proportion of people globally disagree.
Around a third (35%) of people said they incurred new or additional costs such as larger utility bills due to spending more time at home or working from home with respondents in Turkey (65%) and Malaysia (63%) in most agreement. People in European countries of the Netherlands (84%), Sweden and France (83%), and Belgium (80%) are most likely to disagree.
Just over a quarter globally (27%) said they purchased new, more or better goods and services, perhaps as a response for relief from lockdowns and social distancing.
Lastly, most people (95%) said they didn’t have to pay for medical treatment because of COVID-19, while more than a quarter (28%) said they have not experienced any of these factors when it came to purchasing food, goods and services since the outbreak began.