Illustration of scattered receipts on a blue background

How the cost-of-living crisis is changing spending habits

A month-long strategy initiative by M&C Saatchi looked into how people are adapting the way they spend their money. Chief strategy officer Sophie Lewis explains why it’s not all about cutbacks and what brands need to be reflecting on

“We always used to talk about people being cash rich and time poor and now the opposite is true.” Well, sort of, says Sophie Lewis, chief strategy officer at M&C Saatchi. “I’m not sure how much more time we have, but we’re definitely not cash rich, and people are very prepared to – and are being forced to, in some cases – spend quite a lot of time finding ways of being resourceful with their money.”

Throughout February, M&C Saatchi ran a strategy exercise in response to the financial burden being placed on the population right now. It involved a ‘panel’ of 50 people reflecting different geographies and incomes, who were chosen to be as “nationally representative as you can find” within a pool that size. The participants were each sent two questions every week day in February via WhatsApp – one was a specific prompt to figure out their behaviours, the other was about how they feel about their financial situation on a scale of one to ten.

Lewis says there are lots of reports out there at the moment, but this project, called On The Money, was designed to “dig around under those broad brushstrokes as much as possible. So we tried to gear our questioning towards answers that help us understand more granularity about the way people are behaving and what they’re doing in response to the cost-of-living crisis.”