Making sense of the cost of living crisis for families

It feels hard to avoid headlines about the ‘cost of living crisis’, a phrase that appears to be on everyone’s lips. We wanted to find out what this means to families across the UK, how it’s changing attitudes and behaviours and ultimately the impact it could have on brands.

Throughout September and October we spoke with families on our Family Panel base, to understand what consumers think about the current situation and whether their behaviours have changed or not.

The first thing that struck us was that this was a subject being discussed right across the board. All across the UK, all shapes and sizes of families and perhaps most interesting all income levels.

This was ‘The Thing’ all respondents told us was consuming chats at the school gates, taking over WhatsApp groups and becoming the focus of evening meal family chats. Three quarters of all families are concerned about the impacts of the rising cost of living.

Less but more

Families are changing their behaviours accordingly but the changes are not the same for everyone. The overriding change in behaviour is buying less but for many ‘less also means more.’
They are making everything go that bit further.
Also, less means ‘less costly experiences’ – 
less going out, less holidays and less activities.
The counter balance is they are seeking more free or shared experiences.
Plus, less means that treats when they happen are more special.

Families are choosing to be smarter – with the money they spend, be more considered – less impulsive, be more appreciative – of all occasions and be more community focused – more aware of others feeling the pinch.

Opportunities for Brands

Out of all of these changes in behaviour we have highlighted potential opportunities for brands. Ways for brands to assist families at this time and become more than simply items to be consumed. Families have an appetite for things to look forward to, they are willing to sacrifice other things to hold on to these plans. Whilst in some areas families may be downgrading, these could mean an upgrade for other areas. E.g. switching from takeaway pizza on a Friday to the more expensive pizza range at the supermarket, so it still feels like a treat.

Consumers are increasingly looking for brands to make a stand. They want to clearly know what efforts brands are making to help them at this time. This does not always need to be price led, this can be tips and tricks on how to make food go further as well as loyalty bonuses.

For more details on new shopping habits and ways to communicate with families who are being less impulsive at the supermarkets please request the full report from