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Insider Intelligence: 84.51° exec: Consumers remain concerned with inflation and retailers must balance digital and physical for success in 2024

It may be a new year, but 2023 shopping habits aren’t going anywhere, according to Barbara Connors, vice president of strategy and acceleration at 84.51, a retail data company under The Kroger Co. Customers are still motivated by price and value, still expecting the shopping experience to seamlessly shift between online and offline channels, and still interested in buying private label goods.

While this may mean another challenging year for retail, brands can use last year’s behaviors to prepare for what to expect in the coming months.

1. Inflation will still weigh on consumer shopping habits

Despite falling prices, the majority of consumers were worried about inflation throughout 2023, peaking in February with 67% of shoppers expressing “extreme concern,” per the 2023 Year in Review report from 84.51˚. That number dipped to 61% in July, but by October, it was back up at 65%.

Heading into 2024, it seems unlikely these anxieties will ease.

“The outlook around inflation going into 2024 is still clouded with uncertainty,” said Connors. “When we ask consumers how long they think inflation will last, the percentage of uncertain shoppers across all age groups rose throughout the year.”

To prepare for another year of cost-conscious consumers, retailers can expect customer behaviors to stay the same in 2024.

  • The top three ways consumers responded to inflation last year were looking for sales/deals/coupons more often, cutting back on nonessentials, and switching to lower-cost brands, the 84.51˚ report found.

  • “More than half of the population exhibited these top three behaviors last year, and I expect to see all of those continue,” said Connors. “Price and value will remain top of mind for customers until we see something shift from a macroeconomic standpoint.”

To appeal to deal-seekers, brands will need to use personalization to target the right customers with relevant offers, said Connors.

“Personalized offers are a better distribution of your investment to customers that matter most to you, and it helps customers because you’re making it easy for them to get value on the products that are most relevant to them.”


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