By Nathalie Voit
A new survey released by Country Financial finds that nearly nine in ten Americans (88%) are worried about inflation.
Last month, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed 6.2% from a year before, its largest increase in 30 years. A series of product shortages across industries has also led to a rise in consumer prices to their highest levels.
The poll, conducted between Oct. 22 and 25, revealed most consumers plan to scale back their future spending. Of the 1,031 adults ages 18 and older surveyed, about half said they would cut back on dining at restaurants or ordering take-out (48%). Nearly one in three respondents had no plans to upgrade their current technology (30%).
Additionally, 29% said they plan to spend less on clothes, 29% said they plan to budget food, 23% are postponing home renovations, 20% are canceling or delaying travel plans, and 13% plan to drive less.
Despite inflation concerns, last month saw an uptick in consumer spending. Data released by the Commerce Department on Nov. 16 revealed rising retail sales in October. According to the Census Bureau’s Monthly Retail report, U.S. retail sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.7% in October, up 16.3% from the same time period last year.
However, October’s unexpected results may in part reflect “pent-up demand” due to Americans’ record savings rate, reported CNBC. Consumer spending will also increase by default when prices are higher, revealed Scott Jensen, manager of the financial planning support team for Country Financial.
According to the survey, Americans have noticed the highest price increases in gasoline or travel (86%), groceries (80%), eating out at restaurants or take out (67%), and utilities (51%).
A significant number of consumers have also noticed higher prices for home renovations/repair (48%), home upgrades (47%), clothing/accessories (46%), new homes (42%), new cars (40%), home/auto insurance (32%), and rent (29%).
Four in five respondents said they had heard about inflation in the past three months (85%). Fifty-eight percent said they had heard a lot about it, one in four had heard “something” (27%), and 3% were not familiar with inflation. Baby Boomers and Gen X were more likely to have heard about inflation (72% and 58%, respectively) than Millennials (49%) and Gen Z (37%).
Regardless of income level, racial group, or generational cohort, most Americans were “somewhat concerned” or “very concerned” about inflation (88%), the survey revealed.