Fetch Price Index Inflation Report: Record Breaking Grocery Prices Changing How Consumers Shop
By Dhwani Worah Upadhyay
June 9, 2022
Fetch analyzed a panel of 375,000 shoppers, tracking 195 million in-store and e-commerce purchases over the last 24 months. This item-level view of shopper behavior captures, in real time, the true state of inflation and its impact on consumers, brands, and retailers. Fetch is a mobile app with 14 million active shoppers.
PRICES INCREASING FASTER THAN OFFICIALLY REPORTED
In April the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of 10.8% in the food at home index over the last 12 months. Fetch data indicates an even higher rate of inflation, with the Fetch Price Index reporting an increase of +13.9% YOY in average price*, ending May 2022. According to the Fetch Index methodology, the annualized rate of inflation is the highest the United States has experienced since June 1947.
CONSUMER DEMAND SHOWS FIRST SIGNS OF DECLINE
In May, Units Per Household showed the first signs of lower year-over-year % change, dropping by -9.6%. This is the first decline in consumer demand since the post-COVID recovery began. Consumer demand has historically been strong in the face of increasing prices. Slowing demand may indicate the rising prices and rising interest rates are starting to have an impact on the macro economy.
CONSUMERS ARE BUYING LESS PER TRIP, BUT STILL SPENDING MORE
In May, Units Per Trip saw a year-over-year decline of -10.2%. Trips Per Household grew +0.6% year-over-year, causing the overall reduction in items entering the household. Even with the smaller baskets, consumers still felt the impact on their pocketbook with a 2.7% increase in Spend Per Trip in May compared to last year. Increased number of trips is surprising in light of record fuel prices. Consumer behavior is changing, but long-term patterns are still emerging.
BASKET SIZES FAVOR BARGAIN RETAILERS
Consumers leaving the store with fewer units is a challenge for retailers and brands. However, those retailers with the lowest price increases are experiencing the least disruption in basket size. Costco remains an outlier, showing strong performance in Items Per Trip despite the largest increase in average unit price, likely a result of dominating the stock-up trip game while gas prices remain high.
New highs in the Fetch Price Index are beginning to impact consumer demand, with continued decay in items purchased per trip and per household. We anticipate demand will continue to decline until prices stabilize or income increases. With federal policy and the macro landscape shifting, Fetch will continue to tap into over $100 billion USD in annualized purchase data to bring clarity to the changing consumer landscape.
About Fetch: Founded in Madison, Wis., Fetch captures over $100B in annualized retail sales by rewarding shoppers every time they submit any receipt through the app. Launched in 2017, Fetch provides shoppers an easy and fun way to save money, and brands a meaningful way to understand the retail world and connect with those shoppers. The resulting data was used to create this report. To learn more, download the free app and visit www.fetchrewards.com
Dhwani Worah Upadhyay
Dhwani is VP, Analytics & Insights at Fetch. Understanding why consumers do what they do and translating it into marketing strategy excites her. Prior to Fetch she has worked with global brands and agencies to customize research, analytical solutions in the evolving CPG and retail space. When not nerding out on data she is researching her next travel destination. She is also an avid photographer.