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Women and young people hit hardest by cost-of-living spike, finds IPA

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

June 27, 2022 | 5 min read

Following this week’s news that the cost-of-living crisis looks set to trigger another recession in the UK, the latest research from The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) reveals that many – particularly women and young adults – are already struggling to cope with their current salaries, and that this is having a direct impact on their ability to make healthy choices.

cost of living

Just half of young adults and just under two-thirds of women say they are coping with their current income / Image via Pexels

The number of adults saying they are coping with their current salary has fallen 5.5% since pre-2020 lockdown, with only half of young adults and just under two-thirds of women saying they are coping with their current income.

The data also points to a strong correlation between consumers’ squeezed budgets and their less healthy food choices, with the number of adults preferring to eat organic food falling by almost a third in early 2022 – again, particularly among younger generations and women.

These are just some of the stats from the IPA TouchPoints 2022 data set, released today (June 28 2022), and which was carried out between January-March 2022 on a nationally-representative sample of c3,000 GB adults (aged 15+).

While the full IPA TouchPoints 2022 data set measures a range of daily lifestyle choices and media habits of the British public, looking specifically at the data related to cost-of-living and food-purchasing decision-making, there is a clear indication that the burden of the cost-of-living crisis on people’s budgets has caused people to stress and impacted their ability to make the healthiest choices.

Cost-of-living crisis

The IPA data points to anxiety from the public about the impact of a potential recession, with the number of all adults that say they are coping with their current income falling 5.5% from pre-lockdown 2020 to the first quarter of this year, from 67.4% to 63.7%.

This drop is more marked for women, down by 7.8% v down 3.1% for men (61.6% vs 66.0% respectively). The percentage drop of 9.5% in those saying they are coping on their current income is also far higher for the younger generation aged 15-34 (51.7%), and the 35-54s record a 7.4% drop (59.7%) compared to the older generations of 55+ at -0.51% (77.8%).

Over a quarter of adults and 40% of the younger generation say they feel their level of debt will increase in the next few years, with this figure rising by over 50% for 35-54-year-olds since pre-lockdown 2020.

Almost 85% of adults say they are feeling the pinch as the price of goods and services continues to increase, with awareness going up by 11.8% for 35-54-year-olds.

The number of adults feeling confident about the economy has fallen by half, with women far less confident than men.

This is impacting healthy choices

  • The number of all adults preferring not to buy food that has been genetically modified has dropped by almost 40%, and by half for 15-34-year-olds

  • The number of adults preferring to eat organic food has fallen by almost a third in early 2022, particularly among younger generations and women

  • The number of adults who state they always read the labels on packaging before they buy food has fallen by almost a quarter

Commenting on the findings, Belinda Beeftink, research director at the IPA, said: “What these new findings appear to show us is that even at the start of the year, with finances tightening, people are having to buy what they can afford rather than having the luxury of choice.

“We can only imagine [that] with rising inflation levels and the clouds of a recession beginning to bubble up, such stats will become bleaker.”

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