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The Cost of Living Crisis; How will this affect shopping habits?

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

As a result of the Cost of Living Crisis, and with a recession on the horizon, consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits in order to make their money stretch further as we come into the winter seasons. Here, we touch upon key observations surrounding consumer habits that are shaping today, which make it vital for brands to adapt. As our Macro Trendbook (Book One) highlights, remodelling business success is based on more than economics. There is a need for true connection with the consumer, embracing individuals and what’s important to them. Restoring consumer confidence through transparency and building trust becomes a priority.


Swapping meals out for dinner parties. Consumers are creating a restaurant experience at home, rather than eating out. John Lewis has said that sales of tablecloths, crockery and dining tables have all risen as "intimate dinner parties", made popular during the pandemic, are making a comeback once again due to the rising cost of living. More and more consumers are opting for dinner parties and making the home a place of enjoyment and entertainment.

Brand repertoires are also widening as consumers become more adaptive to trying and testing different brands and product ranges that fit within their budget. More and more shoppers are choosing budget supermarkets, switching to cheaper own-brand products and opting for frozen over fresh food, buying less meat as they seek out better value for money amid the cost of living squeeze.


Consumers are becoming more creative, personal and comfort-focussed in their approach to updating their homes.

Curtains are making a comeback. Curtains had previously fallen out of favour, replaced by shutters and blinds, but in the past year curtain sales have risen. Further growth is expected as worries over rocketing energy prices continue, encouraging consumers to make their homes warmer for the winter months. The current state of the world is a factor in making us yearn for curtains, but will the trend for exposed wooden floorboards also dwindle as consumers seek the comfort and warmth that carpets offer?

Homeowners are also getting creative with money saving methods within the home. The aim is to create light and heat via untraditional methods to save on bills. Spiking TikTok trends are influencing life hacks such as candle powered heaters and solar powered lights that are charged during the day for use at night.

Our Macro Trendbook (Book One) highlights that subtractive designs are becoming more common, with products becoming more straightforward, focusing on deconstruction and assembly and embracing the DIY approach. With mortgage rates going through the roof, and house prices becoming unpredictable, consumers will be on the lookout for creative ways in which to make rented spaces feel like home.


Consumers are becoming more innovative in order to save money during the energy crisis. The role of cycling becomes more prominent as we start to see a large increase in Brits reconsidering transport habits and opting for cheaper methods.

Current remote workers are considering returning to the office amidst rising energy bills. This trend may grow as we move into winter and workers weigh out the potential financial benefits of returning to the office. It comes as typical household energy bills are expected to rise to £3,459 a year from 1st October. As well as workers returning to the office, more retired adults are considering taking on part time jobs in order to keep afloat during the cost-of-living crisis – and one in six have already gone back to work.

The upheaval of recent years has allowed many people to question the systems, institutions and traditions that have structured their lives. Instead, there’s a move towards creating new ways of living that are self-sufficient, community-led and progressive. Protopia is the unifying thread that runs throughout the latest evolutions and developments in consumer behaviour and design innovation. The central idea, to which each of the sub themes of our Macro Trendbook (Book One) relate to.


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