Here’s what inflation is changing (and what it isn’t)

In less than five minutes of reading time, we’ll give you all the data and context you need to get you up to speed on Ipsos’ latest wave of the Coronavirus Consumer Tracker.

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends and Foresight Lab
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Here’s what we know today from the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker:

  • About half of Americans report some familiarity with monkeypox as the U.S. declares it a public health emergency.
  • Mask-wearing has ticked back up a few points.
  • The IPAC, threat index and tolerability ranking are mostly flat.
  • We really seem to have settled into our work routines, with 26% working from home, an additional 18% hybrid and 56% working onsite.

Read on for data about: Inflation inflation inflation, back to school shopping and more

Inflation part one

Why we asked: Inflation persists, though of course the economic signals are all mixed.

What we found: One in three Americans report being unable to afford basics like gas and food. Six in ten say they put something back on the shelf because it was too expensive. One in four have gotten a past-due notice for a bill they couldn’t pay.

Chart showing one in three Americans have difficulty paying for groceries and gas

Inflation part two

Why we asked: See above.

What we found: Here, we asked a battery of new economic questions. One in four have skipped a medical treatment. More have skipped a big ticket purchase, canceled a streaming or online subscription service. We’re spending more on food and less on experiences like travel and dining out. One in five have gotten a raise, but nearly that many have lost a job – consistent with similar data from the Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker.

Bar chart showing Americans are spending more on food and less on experiences

Work from home

Why we asked: We’ve been tracking home/office/hybrid.

What we found: As the New York Times reports hybrid work is less of a reality for people outside of big cities, there is some difference in our data between rural, urban and suburban. But it might be hard to tease out fully without really digging in. Still, we think the story is interesting and this might be a topic worth exploring a bit more as we think about the future of work and its important and continued impacts on eating, commuting, shopping and more. And not for nothing, if only cities over 1 million residents have large populations working hybrid, that’s still a really huge change.

Is inflation changing our investments?

Why we asked: We’ve talked a lot about spending and saving in the context of inflation but not investing so much

What we found: Of those who invest, few have changed course. Of those more believe prices will rise in the future rather than fall.Donut chart showing that investors have not changed their strategy due to the economic climate

Is it time to do back to school shopping yet?

Why we asked: I mean, the Christmas shopping emails have started…

What we found: The plurality of parents report that they start their back-to-school shopping in August which is, checks notes, this month. This comes as a whopping 71% of parents say they expect inflation will affect back-to-school shopping, according to an Ipsos Omnibus poll. But it’s time to get on it, folks. You wouldn’t want your kids procrastinating their school work, would you?

Donut chart showing that most parents will start back-to-school shopping in AugustFor complete toplines for all waves, please see the full data and methodology.

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends and Foresight Lab

Society