How is the cost-of-living crisis affecting brands?

The bad news: prices are high.

An increase in the cost of goods and inflation rates, has meant food prices have been rising sharply for the past year. On top of this, petrol and utility bills have also been at all-time highs. UK adults have been doing what they can in a bid to save money and keep costs down, one tactic includes switching brands.

In our February Mood of the Nation report, we found that 1 in 3 UK adults were switching brands last month to help save the pennies.

How UK shoppers are saving money in February to help with the cost-of-living crisis

We asked these brand-switchers which category they will be switching brands in. Over half said they would be swapping brands in the stock cupboard category for either cheaper brands, or supermarket own labels.

Heinz was the top brand that consumers said they’d be switching from, followed by the cereal giants, Kellogg’s.

UK adults are switching from well known brands to own label or cheaper alternatives to save money during the cost-of-living crisis

Switching brands isn’t just a strategy that UK adults are using in the food and drink industry, this is happening all across the board. Fast fashion giants such as H&M, Asos and New Look have seen their rankings fall in Opinium’s Most Connected Brands index, but budget fashion brands are coming out of the woodwork. For example, low-cost fashion retailer Primark has jumped 10 places in the last year (The Drum).

The good news: Price isn’t everything.

A consumer’s consideration set when purchasing products is not solely based on price. In our not-yet-released March MOTN report, when we asked over 1000 UK adults what’s most important to them when buying Easter eggs, 1 in 3 said it was the brand and size.

Find out how the UK is feeling in our March Mood of the Nation

Be one of the first to receive our March MOTN report by clicking on the image above or here!

For Christmas 2022, in our December report, we found that 50% of UK adults considered quality to be a number one factor when buying gifts, again highlighting that even at times of real financial hardship, price is not the be-all and end-all.

There’s a gap in the market for brands to directly educate consumers on money-saving methods. Not only will this help them put their trust in you as a brand, but it will also show empathy and relatedness. Being relatable to the consumer key.

During this time of cautious spending and increasing prices, brands need to work harder than ever to illustrate quality in their products and empathise with their consumer through effective messaging. This will help retain loyal customers and prevent the switching strategy.

The even better news: Spark Emotions can help

At Spark Emotions, our team of consumer psychologists and industry leaders can help your brand become more relatable, trusted and we can help you enhance your distinctive assets to help your brand remain or become top of mind.

We get to the truth behind consumer behaviour. Find out more about how we can help you by clicking the image below!

Find out what we do at Spark Emotions


Written by Evie Harris-Jenkins, Research Executive at Spark Emotions.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Evie via email or connect on LinkedIn