PR pulse: Will impending tariffs change Americans’ shopping habits?

by | Aug 26, 2019 | Public Relations

New research from shopping rewards app Shopkick explores consumer awareness and behavioral changes in light of the impending Trump Administration tariffs. In a survey of over 30,000 consumers, 60 percent say they will adjust the retailers at which they shop if the impending tariffs go into effect.

New rounds of tariffs being placed on imports from China will result in raised prices on consumer goods, increases reaching a high of ten percent. Although this report’s data precedes the recent postponement of some tariffs in the wake of shaky stock market activity, in essence it re-emphasizes many consumers’ fears.

Of the 60 percent of consumers aware of the impending tariffs, nearly 40 percent report having already seen prices increasing on shelves. Thirty-eight percent of shoppers expect a household cost increase of up to $500, and thirty percent anticipate an increase of over $1,000.

Additional reported behavioral changes should the tariffs hit the U.S. include:

  • Sixty percent plan to adjust retailers they frequent
  • Forty-four percent plan to cut down on shopping
  • Twenty-nine percent are stocking up on goods now
  • Twenty-five percent will make the switch to American-made goods

Additionally, Shopkick found that awareness level differs by generation:

  • Only 34 percent of Gen Z respondents are aware of tariffs, compared to 74 percent of Boomers
  • Fifty percent of Millennials plan to cut down on spending compared to 38 percent of Boomers; the majority 62 percent of Boomers will seek alternative options to cut costs
  • Forty percent of Millennials anticipate tariffs would cost their household up to $500 annually while 31 percent of Gen Z estimated the same monetary impact

If the tariffs announced by the current administration are implemented, annualized consumer cost is likely to double. While the arrival and scope of the tariffs remain uncertain, it’s clear that consumers are thinking ahead and plan to adjust their shopping habits and destinations, ushering in a new age of consumer shopping habits that American retailers will be forced to adapt to.

Shopkick conducted a survey of 30,799 users to gain insights into consumer awareness and behavioral changes in light of the impending tariffs on imported goods into the U.S. The survey was conducted from June 28, 2019 to June 30, 2019.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter