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Updated on Jul 10, 2024
Updates monthly

U.S. Inflation and Supply Chains Tracker

Tracking U.S. consumers' behavioral responses to unanticipated changes in inflation and supply chain disruptions
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Note: Purchasing difficulty and delivery delays do not have data for all categories.
Source: Morning Consult Economic Intelligence

Morning Consult developed a new survey framework focused on the average U.S. adult who is considering a purchase to capture behavioral responses to unanticipated changes in inflation and supply chain disruptions. From the nationally representative survey responses, we constructed six diffusion indexes quantifying consumer behaviors such as price surprise, walking away from a purchase due to sticker shock, trading down, stockouts, search effort and wait times on deliveries. The indexes capture how consumers perceive prices and how purchasing behavior has shifted in response to changes in inflation and supply disruptions at both the aggregate and product and service category levels.

More information on index calculation and interpretation can be found here and here. A white paper explaining the links observed between these indexes and spending outcomes can be accessed here.

Morning Consult collects data on 20 product and service categories within this survey, with demographic breakouts regularly reported across 16 different groups. Subscribers to MC Pro+ and Morning Consult Economic Intelligence can download interactive Excel dashboards to analyze the data by category and demographic group.

 

Data Downloads

Pro+ subscribers are able to download the datasets that underpin Morning Consult Pro's reports and analysis. Contact us to get access.

Interactive Trended Data File (by category)
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Excel Dashboard Interactive charts in xlsx format, including all historical waves, among Morning Consult’s standard demographics.
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Interactive Trended Data File (by demo)
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Excel Dashboard Interactive charts in xlsx format, including all historical waves, among Morning Consult’s standard demographics
xlsx
5Mb
About Pro+
A brief outline of what datasets are included in Morning Consult Pro+
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Price Indicator

Price Surprise Index

Price Surprise

Morning Consult’s Price Surprise Index monitors how often consumers encounter higher-than-expected prices when purchasing goods and services, closely mirroring top-line annual inflation as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Generally, price surprise tends to be negative since consumers usually have an accurate sense of the costs of goods and services. Consequently, a month-over-month increase or decrease in the index reflects consumers' perception of a corresponding change in prices.

  • Price Surprise: Net share of consumers reporting higher than expected pricing
  • Calculation: Purchased a product or a service for a higher-than-expected price minus purchased for a price close to or below expectations

Demand Indicators

Price Sensitivity Index

Price Sensitivity

Morning Consult's Price Sensitivity Index, indicative of demand changes in response to inflation, measures the extent to which consumers avoid purchases due to prices exceeding their expectations. A neutral value at the product or service category level indicates an equal proportion of adults walked away from a prospective purchases as the share who proceeded with a purchase despite the higher price. Thus, a higher index figure for a product or service category signifies reduced demand for that product or service.

  • Price Sensitivity: Willingness to forgo a purchase when faced with higher-than-expected pricing
  • Calculation: Did not purchase because price was too high minus purchased for higher-than-expected price

Substitutability Index

Substitutability

Morning Consult's Substitutability Index measures the "trading down" behaviors of U.S. consumers. A neutral value at the product or service category level indicates equal proportions of adults opted for a lower-priced substitute as those who chose not to purchase. Therefore, a higher substitutability index score for a product or service suggests that consumers are more inclined to trade down as consumers feel pressure to cut costs.

  • Substitutability: Willingness to trade down to a cheaper substitute when faced with higher-than-expected pricing
  • Calculation: Purchased lower priced alternative minus did not purchase

Supply Indicators

Unavailability Index

Unavailability

The Unavailability Index  measures the difference between the share of adults who said they were unable to purchase a good or service because it was unavailable and the share who said they purchased the good or service. Positive values indicate a good or service was found to be unavailable more often than it was purchased, and negative values mean a greater share of purchases were executed successfully than the share that failed to take place due to stockouts.

  • Unavailability: Inability to purchase a product or service
  • Calculation: Did not purchase because product/service was unavailable minus purchased for price close to or less than expected

Purchasing Difficulty

Purchasing Difficulty

The Purchasing Difficulty Index covers a broader range of purchasing frictions that might include unaffordability, inaccessibility or any number of other inhibitors. For each good or service, the index score is calculated by subtracting the share who said they shopped for a given item and did not have trouble finding it from the share who said they looked for this item and did have trouble finding it. Positive values imply the item in question was difficult to obtain more often than not, and negative values mean more consumers found it easily than struggled.

  • Purchasing Difficulty: The extent to which buyers experience difficulty obtaining a product or service
  • Calculation: Reported difficulty finding certain items minus did not report difficulty finding certain items

Delivery Delays

Delivery Delays

The Delivery Delays Index encompasses only goods ordered online. The index is calculated by subtracting the share of adults who ordered a product online and said it arrived faster than the previous month from the share of those who ordered the same product and said it arrived more slowly than in the previous month. A zero score indicates that equal shares reported slower and faster deliveries, while a positive score denotes a higher share of slower deliveries than faster deliveries and a negative score means more orders arrived faster than took longer to arrive.

  • Delivery Delays: When buying a product, the relative timing of delivery compared to the previous month
  • Calculation: Deliveries were slower than last month minus deliveries were faster than last month

Methodology

Morning Consult’s Supply Chain and Inflation Survey measures the impact of shortages and rising prices on consumers and their purchasing habits. Each month, respondents are asked questions about which products they are having difficulty procuring, how long they are waiting for deliveries, and how they are responding to supply disruptions and price increases for various goods and services. Consult our methodology document for further information.

  • Began fielding: September 2021
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Fielding period: Mid-month
  • Sample Size: 5,500 adults (between September 2021 and April 2024, sample size was 2,200 adults)

Email [email protected] to speak with a member of the Morning Consult team.