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06/01/2022

The grocery channels with the highest and lowest inflation rates are …

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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rising prices
Grocery prices remain well above 2021 levels.

While overall grocery inflation continues to rise year-over-year, two specific channels are most responsible for the increase.

Grocery prices were up 13.2% year-over-year, health & beauty prices were up 10.1% year-over-year, and household item prices were up 15.8% year-over-year for the four-week period ending May 15, 2022, according to inflation insights from Numerator.  Within the grocery sector, the online channel (+21.5%) and dollar channel (+19.2%) have the highest year-over-year inflation rates.

Conversely, the club channel continues to see the lowest rate of grocery inflation overall, holding steady with a 7.3% year-over-year rate of price increase. Numerator also observed a number of other interesting inflationary trends:

  • Suburban consumers have been the most heavily impacted by rising grocery prices since the turn of the year and have seen a 13.7% year-over-year uptick in the latest week tracked by Numerator.
  • Middle income ($40,000-$80,000 annual household income) consumers have overtaken low-income consumers for the most-impacted group by year-over-year grocery inflation for the first time in May 2022, seeing a 13.3% increase in their grocery prices.
  • Surveyed consumers rating their financial situation as “good” or “very good” is at a low of 48.7%
  • Only 34% of surveyed Gen Z consumers rate their current financial situation as “good or “very good,” 14 percentage points lower than surveyed millennial & Gen X consumers (48%), and 17 percentage points lower than boomers and older generations (51%).
  • Consumers continue the trend of saying they “don’t currently have any spare cash,” but for those who do, putting it into savings (34.6%) or paying down debts (30%) are the most popular options.

Survey: Inflation impacts consumer shopping behavior
A recent survey from store lifecycle management company Tango reveals that U.S. consumers are considering inflation when they are shopping. Two-thirds of surveyed Americans (68%) say where they shop has changed during the past few months due to inflation and/or higher gas prices.

Respondents with a household income of $75,000 or more are more likely than those with lower household incomes to say where they shop has changed over the past few months due to inflation and/or higher gas prices (73% vs. 63-66%). The survey also indicates that in addition to price, flexibility is a big draw for consumers, as a seamless online-to-store experience continues to grow in importance for 88% of respondents, and89% want to continue having options to shop in-store and online with either in-store pick-up or delivery.

Percent changes in Numerator's Price Pulse are calculated at a category level. The average price per item within a category is based on verified purchase data from over 100,000 Numerator panelists, and the average price from the past four weeks is compared to the same period one year ago. The Price Pulse includes a cross-channel view of prices, as well as channel-specific views and cuts by consumer demographic groups. Numerator’s Financial Outlook Tracker leverages an ongoing survey that collects approximately 10,000 responses from active shoppers each week. Consumers are asked to rate their current financial situation in addition to sharing spending intentions. The tracker has additional breakouts by ethnicity, generation, income level, and urbanicity.