Inflation Nation: How Americans are Coping One Year Later

How will consumers’ response to inflation impact holiday shopping plans. Listen in for strategic insights.

The author(s)

  • Kate Hensler VP, Ipsos Online Communities
  • Joe Lonek Senior Director, SIA, Ipsos U.S.
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U.S. consumer prices soared in 2021 by the most in nearly four decades. Now a year later, as Americans grapple with continued inflation during the third pandemic-era summer, how have peoples’ perceptions evolved, what habits have they settled into, and how is this impacting everyday spending and behavior today?

Listen in as we take a deep dive into how Americans are coping with inflation one year later, including:

  • A longitudinal look at inflation-related topics, themes, and drivers that have emerged across social media and in online community conversations since 2021, from rising interest rates to decisions at shelf.
  • How these narratives continue to impact consumer emotions, motivations, cross-category purchasing decisions, and daily activities today, including what consumers are foregoing, and what items they feel they just can’t do without.
  • How consumer plans and outlook are changing for the rest of the year and what they are expecting from brands and retailers to help them navigate through foreseeable economic uncertainty, including strategic recommendations for brands as we move into fall and the holiday season.

Today’s AI-generated audio transcript is offered below. Apologies in advance for inconsistencies that have been included.

0:04

Thank you for joining us for today's Ipsos webinar, Exploring Inflation's Impact on Consumer plans and an Outlook for the Year ahead.

0:14

Today's Webinar is being presented by our online communities and social intelligence research experts, and you can read more about them on the slide in front of you.

0:26

Throughout today's session, you will remain in listen only mode, however, throughout the webinar, please submit your questions using the Q and A feature.

0:37

Time permitting, we'll answer your end of today's session, however, if time runs short than your question, will be answered by e-mail.

0:47

I also encourage you to check out the handouts we've uploaded into the Today's webinar is being recorded and will also be directly e-mailed to you.

0:58

So now without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce today's first speaker, Joe Lonek, Senior Director with Ipsos’Social Intelligence Team. Joe, you have the floor.

1:12

I have one. Thanks for joining our inflation webinar today and thanks for the introduction. Today we have two sets of insights that will be walking you through today based on two distinct so methodologies from Ipsos. The first one that I'll be leading is around social intelligence. Pulling in conversations related to inflation. On this substitution consumers are making different mitigating behaviors that they're, they're employing and different reactions and behaviors they're employing in order to mitigate the impact of inflation. So we'll be sharing that with you today.

1:42

And I'm joined by my colleague, Kane, as well, who is a lead for the digital communities.

1:48

Hi. Thanks, Joe. I'm Kate Hensler, VP with our Online Communities Team, So what we did in our community spaces, we talked with over 500 of our syndicated community members about not only the behaviors that they're making today, but their current emotional state, their future outlook, and what they're thinking about for holiday 2022. We're also going to take you through a little bit of what those implications mean for your brand and how you can react against this tumultuous time.

2:21

Awesome, so just to start off to the landfill man and give you a foundation here, what you're seeing in front of you is chart chart of dimensions, of inflation, across social, over the from July 2021, to July 2022.

2:35

And so, when we say social, we actually have a more expansive view of so it encompasses traditional social media, like Twitter and Instagram, but also brings in search trends and insights from forums, like Reddit, where consumers are having really rich, detailed, conversations around any topic.

2:52

But for today, around inflation, they're discussing things like different hacks they can employ to save money, while not having to reduce their, their future spending or future plans. They're looking for ways to go with their current look at their current spending, and identify ways to save, or substitute out things.

3:10

So very rich, extensive view and just wanted to give you a lay of the land of how the conversation has charted over the last year and what's been driving.

3:18

So we see really, our first big spike comes back in September of 2021 with inflation hitting 6.2%.

3:26

And influencers popularizing the term inflation, which is a term used to describe the, often exorbitant increases in pricing for meat that consumers were suffering with and continue to, to continue to be dealing with.

3:41

And then, you know, things really in the conversation began to pick up in March, April of this year. Inflation began to increase, even more so, and, you know, obviously, took on a political element with consumers both looking to blame the current administration, but also to kind of understand what, what is really causing and driving inflation and bias and having such a big impact on their lives.

4:06

Then, in June of 2022, just about two months ago, we saw inflation hit a 40 or high, at 8.5%.

4:13

I figured that was again repeated in July of this year, and in part of that conversation, consumers talking about what did you know the big impact on the economy, potential for recession, potential for additional rate hikes, and the outlook for an employment.

4:30

This data really tracks well with what we see in our what Worries the World survey, which is a survey of 19,000 consumers across the globe asking them what their biggest concerns are.

4:43

And as you can see, the trend line for inflation very closely mirrors what we saw in the social data.

4:50

In the March 2022 issue of, what were the world, inflation became the number one global concern for consumers. And it's increased in concern for consumers. Even more substance than Intune, close to 37% of consumers, that inflation was their biggest concern.

5:06

But if we look down the list, it's not just inflation, It's inflation related topics as well, that are really concerning consumers today. Poverty and social inequality are of extreme importance as they relate to inflation.

5:18

As consumers talk about online, the K shaped economy, and how wealthier consumers are better able to weather the inflation, while less privileged less wealthy individuals are having to make cuts and seeing their, their status, their purchasing power, and the overall quality of life, potentially damage for, in the near term, and potentially into the longer term.

5:41

And then related to inflation comes fed rate hikes and the potential for recession, and so also top of mind for consumers in both social and survey is the requisite impact on unemployment and jobs and the job security or for many of these consumers.

6:00

Then we also asked in our community consumers to share three words about their current mental state and what you see here is text analytics of all of those mentions there, and you'll see anger and fear are by far the biggest sources of the biggest emotions that we saw coming out.

6:19

Angular at, you know, why is inflation at this rate? Why am I having to pay this much? Is it price gouging is a translation?

6:27

I'm looking for places to blame and places to direct their anger.

6:33

You're also seeing fatigue coming out of the pandemic. Consumers are seeing yet another barrier to living a normal life or to investing in their future.

6:43

Now they need to kind of take a step back and make cuts throughout their daily life and across their daily life, similar to what they used during a pandemic.

6:51

And so a lot of fatigue after 2.5 years of that. Now, there could be, you know, potentially years of this to come.

6:58

Then, there's also fear, uncertainty about the future, fear about what, how things back though, are they going to get worse?

7:05

And so, while all of these are overwhelmingly like, negative, we do want to point out that what isn't here is a sense of helplessness.

7:13

The American consumer is resilient, looking, and resourceful, and looking for ways to optimize their spend, and make ends meet, and they're quite confident.

7:23

An optimistic that coming out of this, they could emerge in a better, stronger place.

7:27

So, again, while things are difficult now, there are silver linings and consumers are optimistic that they're going to be able to figure it out.

7:37

That being said, inflation is impacting every aspect of the consumer life from daily spending and you pop into a CVS or you go to ... for your grocery shopping. You'll look at your receipt, you look at your basket and you will see paying much more, for far less.

7:52

And that impacts your ability to make those purchases.

7:56

Like cars, homes have big, big vacations that people have been had this pent up demand around coming out of the pandemic that now they may need to postpone again, but also future planning. Thinking about your family and growing your family. Thinking about moving up in lifestyle, increasing your purchasing power, all of these are under threat, and naturally a concern for consumers. And when taken together, there's no aspect of life that is immune, or that can escape from the impact of inflation. And it's really really weighing on consumers today and their ability to cope with with the current state of inflation.

8:33

And that's actually how we've structured our discussion today, looking at consumer behaviors and how they're coping with inflation across daily spending, big ticket spending, as well as their plans for the future.

8:46

So, jumping into the experiment, what you see here on the right is A, an analytic app, but from our own Cynthia of Social Intelligence Platform, what this does is it takes it isolates conversations around inflation and daily spending. It takes about 600,000 of those conversations, and we narrowed the scene in the past 3 to 6 months for each of these bucket areas, to pull out what are the topics that are coming out that are most important, or consumers? This is AI based, so, the AI goes through and looks for associations and things in the data. And comes out with this schematic that you see here, and we really want to focus in on a few areas of daily spending, where consumers are making cuts or looking for ways to save.

9:34

Naturally, grocery comes up there, and we mentioned gross mutilation. And, But if this is impacting a range of behaviors at the grocery store, we're seeing the return of frozen foods. We saw that at the beginning of the pandemic, but it's coming back and consumers are seeing that as a great way to save money and reduce waste. You can freeze the items as Well. They're cutting back on some fresh produce fresh meats as well as the prices are just becoming too too much.

10:05

They're also looking at their subscriptions.

10:07

Um, and they're looking at those and trying to see areas where they can save, looking at their monthly spending, looking at Netflix and say, you know, I'm not really using this. This isn't really giving me much value.

10:18

And so that's how they're making these decisions that they go along, and they're also coming onto social and coming onto different forums to discuss the best way to make these cuts in spending, how to be more mindful and more thoughtful about it. And the most prevailing sentiment in that conversation is around looking for value.

10:37

Is Netflix delivering you the value that you want?

10:40

And, you know, is it worth the price? If it's something you can afford at this stage? Asking yourself this series of questions is going to help consumers make the right decisions about their today's spending.

10:53

We also see them reducing their spending on fun, which is, you know, related again, to that more intensely negative sentiment around the topic of inflation, We see people cutting back on many trips, You know, as gas prices are, are up. and the cost of, you know, hotels.

11:11

And travel overall are just no too high for them at this point, but also cutting back on, you know, going to the bar to this friends, cutting back on, I'm going out to dinner, and similarly, these moments of joy.

11:26

And so, we see consumers really taking an immediate hit to their current spending, reducing their ability to find enjoyable moments throughout the day, and reducing their purchasing power, and an ability to achieve achieve their goals.

11:47

And then in terms of topics driving the conversation.

11:50

And as I mentioned, as consumers think about their daily spending, they can't help. But think about what's up next. And so this is where consumers are already talking about the rest of the year.

12:00

If I cut spending now, what can I achieve for the rest of the year? Or looking at the rest of the year with Black Friday sales holiday presales, What can I do? And plan for? the future to find potential deals moving forward. one of the major topics there is around back to school spending from both social and search social and survey data. We know that consumers are planning to spend more on back to school shopping, but they're planning to delay. And from social, we know many consumers are planning to do multiple tips around their back to school spending and specifically to look for deals throughout the year, maybe purchase a little bit now. So your kid has what they need for a little bit and then come back and do a few different depths.

12:43

The other topic driving conversation here is the paycheck to living paycheck to paycheck before the pandemic.

12:49

We knew this was on the rise but it's much, much more pervasive now with a large portion of US consumers living paycheck to paycheck and feeling the pain of that, even more so as prices increase.

13:03

The other piece we brought in here was what we call a semantic. And so this looks at inflation as it relates to other topics, and some of those other topics that we want to point out are things like gas prices.

13:17

How long is this going to last year looking to the stock market for indications on how things are going to play out? Thinking about interest rates and also, again, on this idea of wanting to find a place to blame, consumers aren't thinking about is this price gouging?

13:34

A fish shrimp ...

13:35

if this inflation or is, you know, again, that's another example of price gouging.

13:42

So a number of different topics are related to inflation, Especially as it relates and touches upon so much of our daily lives.

13:52

Now, calling it a big ticket spending here and D, as consumers begin to think about where they are going the big ticket items that they had in place. Probably earlier this year or towards the end of last year thinking about purchasing a new car, purchase new home thinks that they had been saving. For many people had actually been quite diligent during the pandemic and saving it quite a bit as they cut back from spending elsewhere.

14:19

But now, they're finding that, you know, in particular, for their car market, it's something that, maybe is even further out of reach for, for, for what's possible for them. In particular, what we see is people stepping back from used cars, but in a silver lining superstars are taking this opportunity to determine, maybe it's best for me to go for an electric vehicle.

14:41

And, you know, that, that lasts longer, is more cost efficient, um, and also allows them to reduce their carbon footprint. So, there are some silver lines as we go through each of these, and that's also related to this other topic that we've highlighted here, around sustainable outcomes.

15:00

Consumers are taking this opportunity to really reflect on their planned purchases and their banking ticket spending, and taking a sustainability lens. And thinking about not only is this going to deliver value, is going to improve my life, can I afford this summit ready to do this. I'm gonna get into SQL, but also, is there an opportunity for me to be more mindful about my spending and have a more sustainable spending pattern that's better for the environment and better for my community?

15:28

And then there are also consumers. As they're looking at big ticket items. They're thinking about the stock market. They're looking at prior ways of growth in the stock market and, and feeling that maybe they've maybe missed out on on prior growth opportunities and not wanting to miss that and seeing actually with inflation up.

15:46

And the potential for recession, the, you know, there could be a crash in the market, there could be a crash in the housing market. And consumers are actually saying, maybe I'll wait for that to happen. As unfortunate and awful as a thing as those. Those could be their action scene. That potentially if I wait it out, I could get a much better deal later on. So not completely eliminating the desire for home purchases or new car purchases or even for higher and the big ... spending.

16:16

But there is there is postpone it for the time being as, as consumers wait for things to shape out or if they see this as indicative of the need to save a little bit more, to make those big ticket purchases.

16:34

Younger consumers are looking at this time as a modern day depression. Many of them are noting that across social conversations, there see inflation up. No gains in minimum wages. Higher taxes, and fewer increases to their wages.

16:50

Which gives them a sense that their future outlook is for ever kind of reduced and that their ability to their purchasing power over all may be reduced and their overall quality of life may be impacted from, from inflation today, also coming out of the pandemic, inflation to come and the potential economic recession that many of them are discussing discussing.

17:16

That being said, there is a strong debris of agency among these consumers, and their, again, looking for deals, waiting things out, taking missed an opportunity to get their financial house in order. And still, some of them are planning to make those big purchases. Some of them further, who aren't seeing their ability to do so meet their ability to plan for those big ticket items, they're looking back into the job market. So, we may see the great resignation continue As consumers go out there and look for higher paying jobs. Or to get an offer to come back to their current employer in order to make sure that their income matches the lifestyle. That they want to decide. That. they desire. So, we do see a strong degree of agency.

17:58

I'm, a good number of consumers, end up with that note among younger consumers older, Gen Z, younger, Millennials, they're actually rooting for the housing market crash. Many of them are seeing it as an opportunity for me to make a great deal, And I can use this time to save up and get my financial house in order. So I'm ready to swoop in and take advantage. And that applies to getting a position in the stock market as well, as well as for use cards.

18:31

And then, again, related related topics here from inflation and big ticket spending. And we really see interest rates, real estate, housing prices, people looking at those, and intensely, looking down at the stock market for indications, planning, looking into next year, even, for for many of these big ticket purchases.

18:56

Now, going into future spending, and consumers are making changes today to start making changes to current spending in order to still meet their future plans. And we see them changing their current buying behaviors today. And, again, looking at their current spending and where they're investing and looking at it in terms of value is delivering the value that I need. Is this helping me achieve the goals I want? Is this align with my values and mine? It's so changing today's current behaviors in order to, again, keep those goals, those, those, future planning and future objectives in line.

19:39

But, consumers are also talking about retirement, and this is interesting here. Older consumers are talking about how they may not be able to retire soon. They may have to work during retirement, and young consumers are increasingly seeing retirement as no longer viable option.

19:57

They're also looking again, for raises there, and job hunting to, again, have a higher income to, to stay in line with their, their original lifestyle objectives and goals.

20:13

But again, we do see this hope for the future, especially when we have this future looking lens. What we want to re-iterate is the resilience among the conversations among consumers.

20:23

Many of them feels strongly that, despite how difficult things are now, they're going to make the right choices, the right decisions today, that'll mixon, better, coming out of this current inflation cycle, and that's going to make them better from a financial perspective, but to also make them better as part of their community. It could make them more resilient to future shocks and to make them overall more sustainable.

20:50

So, do want to definitely re-iterate the resilience here, resilience and resiliency here as well as the optimism and hope that consumers have.

21:01

And on that note, consumers are, you know, we have this topic of hyperinflation to housing market the crypto market. But these are all, you know, changed with hope. While they're negative today, next year, you might be able to get a really good deal on a home and many consumers are talking about that and they're holding at that.

21:20

There's also additional ways to raise money and raise funds. And, you know, the crypto market remains a place where consumers are quite footfall that they could, you know, get a really good investment position, get back their nest egg and recover.

21:36

And that, that's also related to investments in the stock market.

21:41

And so they're also thinking about future things like family planning and retirement and thinking about what they need to do now to make sure that they remain on track.

21:50

And critical to all of that, are the financial influencers in the space on YouTube, on Reddit, on Twitter, They are giving consumers really important information to, again, get their financial house in order, and still achieve their bakker objectives, and while not having to cut quite ST.

22:11

And so with that, I'll turn it over to Kate who's going to take us through her findings from the digital communities.

22:16

Thanks, Joe.

22:18

So as we mentioned at the head of the call, we parallel paths or research within our online community, with over 500 members contributing. So what we asked them, first off, is we wanted to look at how they are responding today. So many of this, as you'll see, echoes what Joe has just shared with us. We see over, you know, two thirds buying less non essential items sticking to necessities.

22:46

We see I'm not leaving the house not traveling as much.

22:50

When we think of all that, I know you on the line are brands that are here are wondering, know, how do we respond? And I think Joe has already given a lot of great tips. We're gonna spend another couple of minutes digging into What does this look like when we really get in and we have those discussions with consumers? How is that manifesting? How's it reacting? So, on to the next slide.

23:14

Oh, I'm sorry.

23:16

So, as we noted, many believe when they think about the future, these behaviors will stick, honestly, feels good to do and bylaws, it feels good to not have your house loaded with stop after two plus years, sitting inside your house. It feels good to not be in the middle of the chaos, you know? Once we saw from co-pays when not all ended, people loved it. And after covariate kind of had that rebound for a couple of months where, you know, in 20 21 where people were going nuts and feeling like they had all their obligations back. And now it's causing consumers to pull back and say, you know, what did I want to do? All of that? And I want to go out to the bar on a Wednesday night.

23:54

Did I want to go on this trip for a soccer tournaments? And I really don't care about and my kid doesn't care about. So it's really revisiting that in the last thing I would say is being mindful that consumers, especially younger consumers, are thinking twice about long term impact but purchases right now. So as Joe mentioned, there's the long term financial impact on, you know, are you wasting money on a house at the peak of the market, or on an Amazon bulk order of things that you impulse on at night? And his back an hour long term deteriorate your prospects. Similarly, this is coinciding with a huge lens on sustainability. And the impact of every brand that consumers are purchasing, so it's really a double edged sword in thinking about not only the impact of, do I need this, but the impact of, does the world need this? Is this a bad decision or me to purchase this product?

24:51

And kind of going back to what Joe shared in this fact that broke, you know, how is this manifesting? How are all of these thoughts manifesting? As, you know, he touched on with grocery, it's really limiting snacking with media, might be cutting back. On subscriptions with travel, more creative, a home, fashion, we're seeing a huge uptick of secondhand market. So, you know, I know all of you on the line are probably after, you know, 25 minutes of hearing, this was probably fairly dismal information are wondering what to do? So I think the back half of this, We're gonna focus on that, and, you know, the one really bright light in.

25:31

The piece of optimism that I think we can hook onto is, while they're satisfied, pulling back from needed, needless fine culture, they still find joy in items, and these still selling toy and expenses. And as Joe mentioned, they're resilient. Consumers want to still, they don't want to feel like everything they've worked so hard for, they can't enjoy.

25:52

So that we're really seeing four buckets, we asked consumers, we said, you know, we know you could cut out most of what's in your life?

25:59

What don't you want to cut? What would make you really sad?

26:03

And the first core theme is personal indulgences So this could be anything from a daily treat. You see in the quote here, just a nice luxurious bath.

26:12

This could also be a wishlist item, right, so that house that they've been saving up for the car or that they've been saving up for, they don't want to cut back on that.

26:21

Sure they could, But they don't want to make them sad.

26:25

The next bucket is protecting and caring for loved ones, so that could be anything like, that brings joy to a loved one. So what we included here is even about a dog. So it's not just spouses, or partners, or Kids. It's even down to their pets that have stuck by them during coven.

26:43

And the other thing to really call out about this is thinking about parents. And the police that they're in, they are still dealing with the trauma of feeling like their children were robbed of 2.5 normal years of their life.

26:55

They're not ready to do that again. Right, they're not ready to say you can't have that toy, even if it's a silly toy, if it brings them joy, if it really feels like it's connecting on an emotional level.

27:07

The next piece is fueling meaningful moments. So, again, connection in the chaos now that folks are returning to really busy work schedules. They're hustling to make money. They want to find those moments of connection, so that could be just watching TV at night.

27:21

I mean, it could also be going on a vacation, so feeling like they're filling that bucket of memories that was lost, and that they're creating and everyday connection with their families so that they're not reverting to pre coven.

27:35

The last areas is, what I alluded to earlier, it's really creating value in the span, so having them buy something they feel good about. It doesn't hurt the Earth, Maybe it's a really nice local restaurant that's always treated them well, or a company that's extended really great loyalty perks to them, making them feel like their money is being spent somewhere that they believe in, and then also in something that's superior quality. So, you know, maybe you're investing in one dress for the season, but it feels like something, they can re where a capsule wardrobe a quality night owl, anything that really feels like it's worth it, and it makes them feel like they can justify.

28:16

So, that's kind of a good lead in for what we're gonna go into, it says, really this future outlook on what consumers want to see from Britain.

28:27

So above all, and kind of what we've touched on throughout this is, consumers are seeking, I'm being transparency right now.

28:34

I know that's day, right? So, what does that look like for a brand? You know, I think what's really important to think about, as we go through that says, we are in a digital age of more sharing than ever, and as Joe just highlighted, this is top of mind on online discussion. This is top of mind in conversation of information sharing.

28:54

And frankly, you know, that puts the bigger spotlight on brand than has been maybe in past recessions, or past times of challenge.

29:03

Um, and what they're looking for is sincere and honest empathy and transparency.

29:10

And as we dig into that and go to the next slide, we asked them a little bit about, OK, so that's what you want to see.

29:18

What don't you want to see why it feels like that's missing the Mark?

29:23

As Joe mentioned earlier, I think the number one piece that's coming through is these noticeable price hikes.

29:29

They feel like gouging, honestly.

29:31

You know, fits a durable good and they saw it in Home Depot last week for $100 less than it is this week and it coincided with a spike in the market.

29:42

A question is: Did they really need to do that or the gauteng me? And that even goes down to small consumer goods like a can of beans. And the question is, Are you increasing? SP is really have to work? Are you doing it because you can?

29:58

And could you have just instead absorbed that price and allowed me to have a break for a minute and pass it on later, pass it on in the smaller increments, I can stomach the next sneaking in translation. So the sentiment of do you really think I'm not uneducated? And again, as I mentioned, we are dealing with a highly educated base.

30:20

You can go in in NaN, look up what something used to cost, you can look at pricing tracker's online.

30:27

And so, I really want to pause on those two things and encourage you as a free and listening to this today, Know, what does that mean? I think it means really, really thoughtful, diligence. Consider it changes to pricing and to quantity, to volume of products, to quality of products. Taking a second, doing some good, high quality research on it before you make that change because you are under the spotlight right now.

30:54

The next is cut backs on loyalty perks. This came through really strongly. And I also thought it was really interesting, because, you know, so many people felt betrayed. They said, I stuck with you through coven.

31:05

You asked me, to wait it out. And you asked me to support you, when you couldn't operate your business.

31:12

And now that you can, and that you're back full force, your subtly saying that my points that I earned aren't worth as much as they used to be. And I'm noticing it, and I'm feeling robbed at that.

31:23

Um, so that's another thing, is, I would really encourage anyone listening to take a pause before a decision like that's made, and said, Look, let's explore this. Let's explore our top tier customers. How are they gonna feel about this? Because that's the kinda thing people go online and share. It's being shared in high volumes right now, and it's the kind of thing that just, frankly, makes people feel betrayed and turns them off in a way that, you know, it's harder to get them back.

31:50

Then the last that I thought was really interesting, and another time sensitive insight is for employee conditions. So in 20 21, we saw a lot of leniency from consumers on brands being understaffed. People said, you know, we're all in this together, no one can find help anywhere.

32:07

Well, that's sort of weaned off. And you know, people are fully staffed in different places now. So if they go into a retailer or restaurant or a coffee shop and it feels understaffed, the new question is why is it under soft or you're not paying people enough. Are you not a place people want to work?

32:25

And especially if you're passing through price hikes, know, are you passing through a price hike and then you don't have a customer service representative to talk to me who's getting that money or you're not hiring people. You know, there's a lot of questions, that way, that I think are starting to be red flags, and we're moving out of this era of leniency on being understaffed.

32:47

So despite these disconnects, consumers still do have empathy for brands, they understand they're in tough spots too, and they're giving grades to brands that we have with compassion.

32:58

You know, when we asked them, Who is a gold star whose shining, was brands of all industries, but I think they're really, or insights, the core themes are empathy, relate ability, loyalty, being a good employer, and being transparent.

33:15

So sharing those whys, having a moment of vulnerability, and obviously, as I say that, I think, gets loaded on how that's with luck, right?

33:23

If you been on LinkedIn in the past week, you've seen the crying, CEO photos going around, and you've seen the backlash on that. Like, that might be a little too much transparency that might not have manifested in the right way, so it's gonna look different for every brand and every tough decision that a brand has to me.

33:39

I think it's core to take a second before making a big decision that could manifest on social, that could manifest in customers, talking about you, and say, look, how does this look for our brand? How can we be transparent? Maybe we can't say everything, we're a public company, but maybe we can create a moment of empathy and communications. You know, there's different ways, and I think the core of that is just making sure that you're exploring each of these angles before releasing any big inflation based decisions.

34:12

So with that being said, there was a lot of dismal information so will change turn to a little bit more optimism here? So as Joe mentioned in the beginning of the call, we do have some optimism and some consumer confidence coming through. When we ask them to think about the outlook for the rest of 2022, it's really encouraging, right, like there's still a lot of anger, fear fatigue. But we have a big sliver of optimism, a big sliver of people who feel like they are optimistic that things are gonna get better, and they are optimistic that they have some agency.

34:48

So, we dove into a little bit more detail on holidays, and we said, OK, if you're optimistic, if you have some thoughts about the rest of the year When you think about the holidays, we know it's August. But they are fast approaching. You know, what do you think?

35:02

And it's really not so bad. It's honestly not. So, we see, you know, over half that feel cautious. But we do see a pretty good subset that you'll optimistic.

35:15

So, I think we can work with that, Right? So, you know, they're not particularly excited that the holidays are fast approaching. There's a lot of questions, a lot of concerns. But they're not saying that this is going to be a no-go year for a number of reasons.

35:33

So as we look at that, you know, with them thinking about this season, as I mentioned earlier, I think or area is this feeling like they've been robbed the past couple of years and this is there to oversee them. And as money going to get in the way of it, sure, it's going to make it a challenge.

35:50

There might be some possibilities, right? They don't want to rob their family of holiday vacation that they've missed for a couple of years.

35:58

They don't want to rob their kids of getting a toy that maybe they weren't able to do during Kobe.

36:05

So the four things that we saw there is, you know, the feeling that it warrants extra planning.

36:11

So across the Board, you know, we've done holiday research for years that I've done here, and typically when we start asking things in August, people were like, Stop, stop asking me about this. They were willing to talk about it, They were saying, You know what? I am actually thinking about this in planning this. The number, you know, the kind of buckets of how they're approaching. This is, you know, there's a core group of people who are saying I want to plan ahead to lessen the burden.

36:36

I want to start thinking about this right now so that I can pay off my bills, that I can get what I can get a good prices right now before they're gouged further for the holidays.

36:46

There's a bucket that saying, you know what, I maybe can't do what I did every year. I can't buy a whole new suite of seasonal decor, a count by the picture frame. That sounds like Christmas 20 to 20 22 on it. I can re-use. I can repurpose.

36:59

I could be creative about how to spend so that I can then spend my money on gifting and spend my money on the moments that matter.

37:08

There's also a group who's anxious to start buying now because they still have a little bit of fear about stock and they have fear about, are they going to run out of inventory and they're looking to brands to be transparent about that, right? They're looking at brands to say, Look, this is a limited release, we will not get more before holiday by Howard.

37:28

And that's an easy thing, has a brand you can do to start to get that group buying and buying quick, especially if you know it's going to be a problem later on in the season.

37:39

The last is some interest in Layaway, delayed interests plan. So, there are those who say, you know what, it is still not in my means to buy right now, but I am anxious about stock and having since about these things, and I wish, I wish I could start buying, and so I think you're gonna see a bigger appetite for more of those plans. And I don't think it's too early to start those, right? So, it's not too early to start promoting your financing Plan. Start promoting your layaway plans for holiday.

38:12

And, kind of, to wrap this up, You know, we just wanted to note the outlook so uncertain.

38:17

But, leaning in on connectivity is going to help you build that strong foundation. So, you know, as you start to think of your go to market plans and your marketing strategies for this upcoming season, I think really leaning in on content that empathizes content, that really says, you know, not that we're all in this together cov it, but maybe more of, We get it. You're tired, You're fearful, you're exhausted. Let's have some fun. Or less indulge in something that makes you feel good about yourself. The next is really focusing on how you can support and create moments that matter.

38:51

So, being a brand, you know, you can every single person who's on this call today and who's watching this can figure out a way that you would participate in a moment that matter. If your food brand, you can be that cooking at home moment since consumers aren't going out. If you're a travel brand, you can give them that memory. If you're a toy brand, you can be a spot to play on the floor with your kids and not look at the TV or your phones. Anyone can do that.

39:17

I think it takes putting our heads together and really creating a cohesive strategy around how we're a part of that critical moment for someone.

39:26

The next is, you know, plan for promotions that center around easing tensions, and giving back.

39:31

So as I noted, I think there's a lot of light. There's a spotlight on sustainability on brand impact.

39:38

There's also a lot of focus on that employee treatment, and making sure that you're being some someone who is responding to inflation for your employees and publicizing that publicizing, you know, we're not letting off course of people and we're doing XYZ. To make sure that we don't.

39:56

Creating, really, a brand narrative around what you're doing that can make someone feel good about supporting you and not make them feel like they're supporting another brand whose gouging Prices and cutting jobs and refusing to give raises that match inflation.

40:13

The last is really, know, as I just touched on, Institute, promoting non employee care during the holiday season. So as we've seen with the trend with years, you know, we need to really think about what Black Friday looks like. What does that pre holiday shopping look like? What is the delivery persons, holiday look like?

40:33

Really make sure that you're, you're creating and living experience for your employees, where you can say, you know what, we're doing a good job to make sure they are home with their families, creating memories. Were also doing a good job to service you. And here's how we're doing it. And maybe that is making a hard choice to say, we're not gonna be open on this day or we're gonna cut off rest deliveries on this day, or, you know, something. But I do think there's enough consumer openness to explore that, especially if you have a compelling story of how your treating your employees better behind it.

41:15

So with that being said, we have time for Q and A And I saw a couple come through as Joe was talking, so I'll go ahead and read this one off. I think you can start taking this one first, because you started to touch on this a little bit. I'm sure you have a lot of good examples.

41:32

So the first question was, Do you guys have any examples of specific brands or industries or categories, who are doing a good job of this right now? And Joe, I'll hand that over to you to start with.

41:50

Yeah, absolutely, we're seeing. We saw a ton of brands in the grocery space.

41:54

So from a category perspective, that kind of grocery competitive retail space coming up.

41:59

So examples at Costco mentioned quite a bit, all the, as well as Dollar store, and what was mentioned, was really to Kate's points just on that last slide.

42:12

We're really leading with that empathy, People talking about those brands, Understanding the situation that there, and it's difficult to get there in, but positioning it as, this is a great savvy choice for you, and why wildlife grocery prices get in the way of your Baker Plantains. Why cut back on life?

42:34

Because of your grocery bill, and come here by M O, you can still save. It's a really leaning into the empathy, understanding, the situation that they're in. Also offering resolution to that, and allowing them to live the same lifestyle without having to do that sacrifice and being really savvy about it. So, those were some of that was the big industry kind of category level. That was the biggest one.

43:03

And then there was a brand dimension called Hopper quite a bit, it's actually an app.

43:08

They monitor prices for flights and hotels, and people are all over it talk, you know, looking for the best deals, and so they're holding out hope that they can get a really good deal on a quicker or longer vacation throughout the recipe or so.

43:22

Lots of discussion there and similar, similar types of apps that kind of monitor prices fluctuate up the day-to-day to to deliver an alert so consumers can jump in and take advantage.

43:38

Yeah, Joe, similar to that example.

43:42

Personally, I was just thinking about this.

43:45

This weekend, I was traveling and um, you know, I was thinking back to what I was gonna say. And this webinar and I travel. I'm very delta, loyal, partially it's just more convenient or I love, but also because they've been very good to me over the years. And I, as I was traveling, I thought about that.

44:04

He said, you know, when I looked at plane tickets for this weekend, aye.

44:08

There was one that was less than half of the price of the Delta ticket.

44:13

However, I wanted to make sure that I was there. I wanted to be there for someone I cared about, and I wanted to be there for a special moment. And I said, You know what, I trust this brand. I, they've been reliable to me, they've been loyal to me. and I want to do this. It's also a personal indulgence, right? I get comfort plus and I get a priority, I get the status. And I love that. And then lastly, you know, when I was ordering, I noticed all up and down.

44:43

They had marketing that really focused on the moments that matter. I think if you've flown in a few Slim Delta recently, you may have seen that. And it's really focusing on, you know, treat yourself, be connected. Go explore. Get back out there in the world. And I thought, you know what, this hits on every single thing that we saw coming out.

45:02

Community members is, that's all the reasons why I spent an obscene amount of money on this ticket and why I didn't regret. It was on time. I get a first class upgrade. I think she feels vessel. And, you know, and I left feeling good about about that expense, even though it wasn't money, I particularly wanted to stand right now.

45:23

Um, and with that, I know we're at time. So it looks like we have another couple of questions that we will answer via e-mail, but Ellen, I think we can hand it over to you to close us out.

45:39

Well, I just really wanted to thank Kate Tinto for today's interesting presentation and reminding me that the holidays are not that far off. And thank you, everyone, for joining us. I think you probably learned a lot for those questions we didn't respond to. We will do so by e-mail, and as promised, you will get a link to today's recorded presentation. Additionally, remember, there are some handouts in the Handout section for you to review.

46:10

Prior to that, at any time, please do reach out to us directly.

46:16

That now concludes today's webinar. Have a wonderful day.

The author(s)

  • Kate Hensler VP, Ipsos Online Communities
  • Joe Lonek Senior Director, SIA, Ipsos U.S.

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