80 years of consumer spending: Slip reveals how the nation’s spending habits have transformed


As inflation peaked at a 9% increase this April, retailer agnostic app Slip reveals how the nation’s spending habits have transformed. The company analysed 80 years of the annual ONS shopping basket which indicates how Brits are spending their money across 12 different categories indicating inflation as a whole. Slip shares the changes that rising inflation, the pandemic, as well as cultural and social shifts are having on consumer shopping habits.

Rising costs

With many consumers feeling the impact of rises to the cost of living, the statistics show that as the average consumer now has a wider variety of items they need to pay for, there has been a downfall in spending on essential items such as food. In a comparative analysis of the shopping basket between

the 1970s to now, the number of food items in the basket has decreased by 37.5% since 1988. Whilst the number of food items in the basket has steadily declined the rate of inflation has continued to increase by 176.3% since 1987.

Changing health and wellness priorities

The 2021 basket gave us an insight into the effect the pandemic had on our shopping habits. As well as hand sanitiser making its way into the basket due to increasing demand, consumers were also purchasing dumbbells and home weights to fulfil fitness routines at home whilst gyms were closed. With many people improving wellness habits throughout the pandemic and this becoming a routine, the 2022 basket also saw the addition of women’s sports bras. This suggests a positive change in priorities with enough consumers purchasing health and fitness products for them to be represented in the basket.

Advancing technology

As technology continues to evolve, amendments to the basket continue to be shaped based on the convenience consumers gain from modern technology. When the shopping basket was first curated, cars were not included in the statistics, yet this year, technology has progressed so far that electric and hybrid vehicles are now included, as plans are set for sales of new diesel and petrol cars to be banned by 2030. Furthermore, smartwatches also made the basket in 2021 as consumers feel the benefit of their features in terms of health benefits and day-to-day life.

Increase in conscious shopping

Gen Z shoppers are also spurring the rise of conscious shopping choices as consumers increasingly search for sustainable and ethical produce. The 2022 basket saw the first addition of meat-free sausages which reflects the rise of veganism and vegetarianism in today’s society. Over the coming years, there will likely be more additions as more research is conducted into the produce and items consumers are consuming and the effect they have on our health and the environment. Whilst the closure of the high street in 2020 had a negative impact on clothing purchases, declining by 10% from 2019, the number of clothing purchases has been steadily declining over the last 10 years. With many consumers having a new appreciation for sustainable clothing and items built to last this is likely to be causing a decrease in the number of items purchased year on year.

Tash Grossman, Co-founder and CEO of Slip shared her insight: “At Slip, technology allows us to analyse consumer purchases and provide accurate information on consumer spending patterns that retailers can leverage. In wider society, however, we are increasingly seeing external factors such as the pandemic or changes in conscious shopping habits affect consumer behaviour on a wider scale. It is therefore vital that businesses are keeping up to date with the scope of what the average consumer is spending their money on to be able to provide the most up-to-date product or service to the market whilst monitoring the rate of inflation, particularly as this is rising at a rapid pace at the moment.”