With most grocery manufacturers raising prices — and retailers increasingly passing those hikes on to consumers — America’s grocery shoppers are exploring their store options, reworking shopping lists and opting for products on promotion, according to responses from U.S. grocery shoppers surveyed by Advantage Sales.

As grocery and other living expenses rise, nearly half (46%) of the 1,024 U.S. adults surveyed who identify themselves as having primary or shared responsibility for their household’s grocery shopping report they are spending more money on groceries now — nearly one-fifth say they are spending “much more.”

“For the past year, retailers held off passing the entirety of manufacturer price increases on to their shoppers,” said Kimberly Senter, executive vice president of analytics, insights and intelligence for Advantage Sales. “But they weren’t expecting manufacturers to take two, three or more increases in the last two years. Now, our research shows nine out of 10 manufacturers plan to take price increases this year and half of retailers say they’ll be passing along at least 90% of those price hikes to the shelf. Shoppers are expecting — and will see — even higher rings at checkout.

“At the same time, manufacturers have been cutting their investments in promotions. With shoppers turning to products on sale and discounted with coupons, it’s time brands — especially those positioned as premium or indulgent — reconsider.”

Among the report’s highlights:

  • Many shoppers aren’t just paying more for groceries, they’re bringing home less. Nearly four in 10 are putting fewer groceries in their carts — nearly one in 10 are buying “much fewer.”
  • At brick-and-mortar stores, escalating prices are stifling opportunities for in-store impulse sales, as a full one-third of those who shop primarily at physical locations say rising retails have led to fewer trips to the store.
  • As prices increase at the shelf, grocery shoppers are moving to channels with perceived lower prices. Nearly half are shopping more at a mass merchandiser or superstore (or website). One-third are shopping more at traditional grocery stores known for having lower prices (and their websites).
  • High grocery prices are having an even more significant impact on what shoppers are buying. Almost half of shoppers are buying more items on sale or with a coupon and nearly as many are saying “Not this time” to treats and indulgences. Four in 10 are choosing more store brands and the same amount are buying the same types of products they usually do, but opting for cheaper brands.
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