1. Shop price inflation reaches six-year high
Shop price inflation grew in February to 0.7%, up from 0.4% in January, marking the highest rate of inflation in six years.
Non-food prices climbed 0.2% year on year, returning to inflation for the first time since March 2013. Food inflation also inched up slightly in February to 1.6%, from 1.5% in January, while fresh food inflation accelerated to 1.7%, up from 1.2% the month prior.
Ambient food inflation eased in February to 1.5%, down from 1.9% in January.
February is a month when retailers often introduce new products at full price, following heavy January discounts and clearances, making it less of a surprise that non-food prices are higher month on month.
2. Generation Z feels misunderstood and stereotyped
Almost three-quarters (71%) of 18- to 24-year-olds say they feel young people are misunderstood and are often stereotyped in the media.
Some 68% believe the world is a harder place than ever for young adults, citing an increased pressure to look good and a greater financial burden than previous generations.
The study also found that 65% of 18- to 24-year-olds worry about their mental health, compared to 46% of those aged 25 and older. Another 75% say they’re under a lot of psychological pressure in the digital age, with 63% of those aged older than 25 also agreeing with the statement.
Almost half (48%) are concerned about being seen as a success by other people, and 68% worry they’re not good enough.
The only area where over-25s worried more than their younger counterparts was in regard to political instability, sustainability and physical health.
3. TfL’s junk food ban divides opinions
Transport for London’s (TfL) junk food advertising, which came into effect on Thursday (28 February), has divided opinion.
Some 38% of British consumers are in favour of banning junk food advertising on transport systems. But 51% are ambivalent towards the idea and 11% think it’s a bad idea.
Another 71% think people will continue to eat whatever the like regardless of whether they see ads or not. Yet 31% agree that reducing fast food ads will help people make healthier choices, and 34% think removing junk food ads from transport systems will help reduce the amount children and teenagers eat.
Just 19% of consumers say ads on transport are most likely to catch their eye, behind just ads or sponsorship on TV.
Considering the growth of fast food options, more than half of those surveyed pointed to healthier alternatives being available as fast food restaurants, with 59% agreeing that ‘not all fast food is bad for you, there are plenty of healthy options available’.
Source: Engage Research
4. Consumer confidence stays negative in February
A “giant cloud of resignation” hangs over consumers as they await the outcome of Brexit, impacting consumer confidence which remained negative, although stable, in February, at -13.
That means confidence was actually up by one point this month, compared to January, although it is still three points lower than February 2018.
The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months increased two points compared to January but is still stuck in negative territory at -33, four points down year on year.
Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have also increased one point to -38, although this is still 12 points lower than February 2018.
The sentiment around personal finances during the last 12 months has stayed the same at 0 as has the index measuring personal finances during the next year which is stable at a score of one but still four points lower than in February 2018.
The uncertainty means consumers now feel it is a good time to save, with this metric climbing steadily since the referendum in 2016. In February, it stood at 18, four points higher than in January and six points higher than a year ago.
The major purchase index is up as well. It increased three points in February to a score of five, up three points compared to the prior month and five compared to a year previous.
5. Marketers failing to offer customers the ‘right products at the right time’
Only a quarter (14%) of UK consumers say marketers are doing a great job of sending them offers for ‘the right products at the right time’.
However, 73% say they’re currently able to complete all the retail activities they want on mobile, with Baby Boomers the least likely to agree with the statement, with four in 10 feeling this way.
Not including social media or games, consumers typically have less than 10 apps installed on their phone, 57% have nine or less and 21% have 20 or more installed. Banking (56%), food delivery (46%) and mail tracking (43%) are three areas where a mobile app is preferred over a mobile browser.
And the main reason why consumers download a company’s mobile app is because they believe it will provide a better experience (51%).