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Canadians seeking conscious consumption to offset the rising cost of living
Canadians are on such a roller coaster. On the one hand, there is a sense of hope and renewal as the pandemic loosens its grip on the landscape. On the other hand, we have great economic pressures to contend with.
Canada’s inflation rate is nearing a 40-year high and as many as 80% of Canadians are concerned about their finances. Belts are being tightened across the board as consumers face skyrocketing prices of everyday essentials that have ultimately affected spending habits. Family budgets are being frantically adjusted to offset the rising cost of everything.
After Stats Canada reported that rising prices are affecting the ability of most Canadians to meet their daily expenses, the term counting pennies has taken on a whole new meaning.
“Consumers across Canada are preparing for a long financial contraction amid rising financial concerns and low economic confidence,” said the latest EY (Ernst & Young) Consumer Futures Index survey, adding that more than half of households expect their cost of living to “continue to rise as personal finance concerns affect all income levels.”
“Slowed down by inflation, consumers are returning to pandemic-induced behaviors — prioritizing savings over spending,” added Monica Chadha, retail leader at EY Canada, in a recent media release. “This trend towards cutting back on non-essential spending and seeking more sustainable alternatives presents a challenge for fast fashion retailers.”
The survey also found that 69% of consumers expect their living costs to increase further in the next six months and that 68% of Canadians are deterred from buying sustainable goods due to high prices.
Due to such troubling consumer news, Canadians are getting tough – on themselves and getting rid of unnecessary essentials – trading steak for ground beef, if you will. Buy less and trade down, finding deals and discounts on everything from food to clothing. Everything is checked.
All the Little Things Add Up: Daily Coffee Rituals for Getting Started. Also, users are starting to go through their devices and turn off all non-essential apps because “there’s a lot of wasted money when you don’t pay attention to what you’re spending on,” said Sarah, 30, who said sun Media she was paying for “too many stupid things that at the time and during the pandemic seemed inconsequential.
“Now my mortgage is up for renewal, my car needs some major repairs and I’m looking to take on some extra part-time work to make ends meet.”
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According to Statistics Canada, over the past year, “consumer inflation has steadily increased, reaching an annual increase of 6.8% in April 2022. Increased consumer demand and supply chain challenges are some of the main factors contributing to higher prices.”
To find out how rising prices are affecting Canadians, Statistics Canada conducted a A Portrait of Canadian Society survey this spring and found that “nearly three out of four Canadians report that rising prices are affecting their ability to meet everyday expenses such as transportation, housing, food and clothing. As a result, many Canadians are adjusting their behavior to adapt to this new reality, including adjusting their spending habits,” according to its website.
“People have used the last two years to fundamentally rethink their lifestyles and evaluate their relationship with consumerism and the values that drive their purchases,” Elliott Morris, head of food and consumer packaged goods at EY Canada, said in a recent email to Sun Media. “Many have learned to live with less during the pandemic, now they want to buy better, not more, avoiding spending on unnecessary products and experiences.”
Morris says that consumers are “finding creative ways to adapt to the rising cost of living and embracing alternative ways of living their values, becoming more cautious in their weekly grocery trip, keeping clothes a little longer and repairing products instead of to replace them.’
What else are users doing? Many turn to “inflation hacks” for ideas on how to stretch the dollar. This includes selling what is no longer in use and using online neighborhood sites and markets for it.
They also check out thrift stores—quickly becoming the hottest market around—not to mention visits to garage sales (which were closed during the pandemic and are now doing booming business). Also, people buy in bulk and split the savings with family and friends.
The guidance is now higher, especially in the field of children’s clothing.
Gift cards that have been saved for rainy days are finally being used.
A decent hack involves doing your grocery shopping right when food is on sale – you’ll be surprised to see how expensive items like roasts are slashed for you to enjoy that night. These deals freeze beautifully to be used at a later date!
Some of the key findings from the EY Consumer Index Survey:
– Reduce costs through conscious consumption: consumers repair their belongings instead of replacing them (69%), buy second-hand products (25%) and reduce the amount of food they waste or throw away (85%).
– Jumping past seasonal trends: 72% of Canadians no longer feel the need to keep up with fashion trends, and over 50% feel more comfortable in their own skin, relying less on beauty and cosmetics to boost self-esteem.
– Privacy is a priority: More than half of Canadians are cautious when it comes to sharing personal information across all digital activities and platforms due to concerns about data breaches, identity theft or fraud, app tracking and exposure to viruses.