Three in five Britons say the cost of living has increased since the start of the coronavirus crisis

Groceries and household items, utility bills top list of higher cost items globally as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
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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%).

Has the cost of food goods and services increased? | Ipsos

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.

Which costs have gone up? | Ipsos

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.

Why do you think costs have increased since Covid-19? | Ipsos

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.

Technical Note

These are the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted between May 22 and June 5, 2020. The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 26 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs

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