US consumer spending and sentiment remains strong, so far

Consumers are searching for value, values, new brands and a seamless omnichannel experience.

Despite recent headlines of sky-high inflation and record-breaking gas prices, consumer spending and confidence remains surprisingly strong, McKinsey’s Brian Gregg told Dan Loney on a recent episode of the Wharton Business Daily Podcast.

Gregg, who was discussing the findings of McKinsey’s latest Consumer Pulse Survey, said even without stimulus spending and the highest inflation rates in decades, US consumer spending remains steady, as American consumers also expressed more confidence than those in any of the 14 countries surveyed.

Illustration of people standing in a line and a shop assistant distributing order

How US consumers are feeling, shopping, and spending—and what it means for companies

Here are some key takeaways:

  • While purchasing remains stable, higher prices are driving some consumers to spend differently, with about a third of them switching to private label grocery store brands.
  • Values are starting to surpass the importance of value among younger consumers, with two thirds of Gen Z saying values are critical to their purchasing decisions.
  • Some 75 percent of consumers switched brands during the pandemic, and the great loyalty shake-up continues, driven in part by the influence of social media on consumer behavior.
  • Despite the explosion of e-commerce, consumers welcomed a return to stores, which continue to play a vital role, since companies who make the omnichannel experience seamless are winning.
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