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Product shortages and prices

Summary

  • Many consumers have already been affected by price rises and/or shortages.

  • Consumers are more concerned about prices than shortages. Concern about energy and food prices is very high, with three quarters (78%) of people worried about energy prices and 69% about food prices in October.

Most consumers have been affected by either price rises or shortages

Prices and shortages have been major news topics in recent weeks. Fuel shortages at petrol stations have dominated headlines, whilst problems with the UK’s supply chain have caused shortages in supermarkets, and consumers are warned of increases in both energy and food prices.  

Many consumers reported having already been affected by either increases in the cost of living or shortages. Only 17% of consumers said they had not experienced either of these in the past two months. 

The majority (60%) of consumers reported having been affected by increased food prices whilst nearly half (46%) reported an increase in the price they pay for energy.  

Many have also been affected by shortages. Two-fifths (43%) said they had been affected by being unable to find the products they want in the supermarkets, and 40% of drivers had experienced difficulty in finding fuel for their vehicle. 

Consumers are more worried about price rises than shortages

In August, we reported increases in the proportion of consumers worried about the cost of living. Since then, news stories about the cost of living have been ever more present in the media, with energy prices particularly affected. The proportion of consumers worried about energy prices had increased again since August (71%), with three quarters (78%) of consumers now expressing concern about this. 

We also asked consumers how worried they are about fuel and food shortages, given the recent issues with supply to supermarkets and petrol station forecourts. Shortages do not concern as many consumers as prices, but still more than half (53%) say they are worried about food shortages (compared to 69% about food prices) and 45% say they are worried about fuel shortages (compared to 68% about fuel prices).

Conclusion

The impact of price rises and supply issues has been widely felt by consumers, although much of the impact is yet to come as prices rise further and Christmas approaches, bringing with it inevitable extra pressure on supply chains. Consumers are worried about these issues, with prices in particular being a worry for the majority of people. Energy prices are the most common consumer worry, which we explore in more detail in this article.

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email Sophie Beesley at consumerinsight@which.co.uk

Published on 28.10.21

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