In my eighth grade social studies class, our teacher prompted us to create a budget of how much it would cost to live on our own. We were allowed to find another student to live with to split costs of an apartment and utilities, but we had to budget everything else with our own income. The exercise was probably the first detailed attempt in my life of learning how to budget. 

Today, consumers are showing how budgeting efforts is shifting consumer shopping habits. Salsify recently released its “2024 Consumer Research” report, which was compiled from a quantitative online research survey on SurveyMonkey in December 2023, among a general consumer pool of 2,700 online shoppers in the United States (1,397) and the United Kingdom (1,303). The following are highlights of those changes: 

  • 39% of shoppers are prioritizing budget-friendly options 
  • 35% are focusing on essentials 
  • 31% are intensifying price comparisons 
  • 26% are approaching impulse buying cautiously 
  • 22% are deliberately postponing purchases 

Based on these findings, Salsify highlights that brands can develop relationships with consumers by offering discounts but also “authentically engaging shoppers with exceptional product experiences and championing eco-conscious practices.” 

“In 2024, the consumer mantra centers on mindful shopping, stressing the importance of every brand interaction being both engaging and consistently exceptional,” said Dom Scarlett, Salsify research director, in a statement. “Authenticity becomes a key focal point, recognizing that relatable connections, along with high-quality product images and content (76%), are as significant as pricing and discounts (76%) in influencing shoppers to make a purchase.” 

One example of the importance of interactions stems from consumers embracement of omnichannel shopping. The report found that 54% use smartphones for in-store research, and 23% have completed online purchases while in a brick-and-mortar store aisle, creating what Salsify dubs the “Goldilocks zone.” The realm of online and in-store pinpoints the importance of brands providing seamless experiences, the platform notes. 

Beyond omnichannel influences, the report also pinpointed that despite economic influences, green, ethically sound practices remain important when engaging with consumers. Salsify notes that 34% of shoppers are intrigued by eco-friendly packaging, 27% consider fair labor practice while 23% indicate importance of ethical sourcing. Areas that are not influential on consumers: brand public stances on social or political causes, and social responsibility programs with each only recording interest from 12% of shoppers. 

But, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the report was the insights it shows about consumers interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and how shoppers would be willing to engage with the technology. Salsify identified virtual shopping assistants (24%) as the top AI-powered shopping feature that consumers are interested in. Although we might be in the early stages of AI consumables shopping, the potential is there.