The growing inflation is shaping Italians’ spending habits, prompting them to seek more cost-effective alternatives. The discount revolution is now a palpable reality, marking a shift in how families approach their shopping carts. This change is particularly evident when examining surveys conducted by Altroconsumo, which published a detailed analysis in September covering over 1,200 retail points and comparing more than 1.6 million prices.
Savings in Discount: A Rising Trend
According to Altroconsumo, choosing the cheapest brand or retail outlet allows families to save up to €3,455 per year. A result that reflects the increasing desire to save in the face of record inflation. Coldiretti, which already noted a 10.3% increase in discount sales in 2022, confirms this trend. Looking at Istat data on retail trade, there is a +6.9% increase in November 2023 compared to November 2022 for food discounters and a +8.5% increase for the January-November period.
Changes in Spending Habits
The hunt for discounts and savings has become a daily part of Italians’ lives. Alongside traditional supermarkets, less nationally known brands like Famila Superstore, In’s Mercato, Sigma, and Di Più join well-known names such as Lidl, Aldi, and Eurospin. But what drives Italians to prefer discounts? Primarily, it’s groceries like bread, pasta, and rice that catch consumers’ attention, while meat and fish become less popular options.
Boom in Private Labels and No-Logo Products
With the rise of inflation, there’s also an increase in the success of private labels. These are products with the supermarket’s own brand, a strategy also adopted by hypermarkets and supermarkets to counter the rise of low-price stores. However, the real winners are no-logo products, often imitations of more famous brands but considered convenient without significant compromises in terms of quality.
Evolving Spending Strategies
In addition to changes in places of consumption, Italians’ spending strategies are undergoing a transformation. In a scenario of high prices, consumers have adapted, resorting to various strategies. According to Coldiretti/Censis, the primary strategy is turning to discounts and promotions, while the second is cutting waste, with increased sensitivity towards reducing food waste. Cooking leftovers has become a common practice, with 76.9% of Italians regularly preparing a shopping list to plan purchases and defend the family budget.
Discount Boom in 2023: 8.5% Growth in Food Expenditure
2023 witnessed a true boom in discounts, with an 8.5% growth in food expenditure. According to Istat data reworked by Coldiretti, Italians spent an additional €9 billion to eat less. Although the overall growth of Large-Scale Distribution is +3.4% in November compared to the previous year, it is in discounts that the real momentum is seen, with a 6.9% increase and an 8.5% increase in the first eleven months of the past year. The growing preference for online commerce is an additional sign of the relentless pursuit of discounts, while proximity stores see a decline.
Discount: Growing and Declining Sectors
Perfumery and personal care emerge as growing sectors within discounts, with an increasing preference for these products. On the other hand, appliances and televisions experience a decline, likely influenced by the inflation effect that raises the prices of individual products.
Evolving Food Preferences: Boom of No-Logo Products
Italians are also shifting their food preferences, embracing no-logo products, those not branded. The shopping routine now involves at least two stops in different supermarkets, such as discounts and more well-known chains like Carrefour. No-logo products like “Terre Sapienti” oil, “Tenuta del Cervo” sauce, and “Rosa d’Amore” tuna are gaining popularity, sometimes even through imitations of famous products.
In conclusion, the discount revolution is redefining Italians’ spending habits, with a growing preference for low prices and no-logo products. The hunt for savings has become an integral part of daily life, with particular attention to changes in spending strategies and evolving food preferences. The variety of options in discounts, combined with savvy spending strategies, presents a pragmatic response to an ever-evolving economic landscape.