High inflation resulting from shocks to the economy will hit those with a significant portion of their income allocated to basic living expenses the most. As a result, they will need to significantly reduce discretionary spending on non-essential goods and services. If you are a business that relies on consumer spending, you will undoubtedly experience fluctuations in demand during an economic downturn and may need to adapt your offering or marketing strategies to cater to changing consumer behaviour.

We look at challenges businesses have experienced and how they adapted their offerings or market strategies to cater to changes in consumer spending. We hope they inspire ways in which you may be able to make adaptations in your business in the months ahead.

1. Construction and home renovation services


Consumer demand for construction and home renovation services can fluctuate based on economic conditions, housing trends, and consumer preferences.


Diversifying services: Some construction companies have had success from expanding their services beyond traditional building projects to offer home energy efficiency upgrades, smart home installations, or accessibility modifications for aging populations.

Digital marketing: Embracing online marketing and social media platforms to showcase past projects and engage with potential customers directly can have significant impact on business growth. Digital marketing can help businesses reach consumers who research and plan their home improvement projects online. It can also help a business to rank higher on search engines results pages, increase online brand exposure, build consumer trust in a business, and ultimately help you achieve a greater lead volume and other digital marketing goals.

Sustainability initiatives: Responding to increased consumer interest in sustainable living, some construction companies have successfully offered eco-friendly building materials and energy-efficient solutions.

2. Small retailers and local shops


Small retail businesses often face competition from larger chains and online retailers, leading to fluctuations in demand based on local economic conditions and changing shopping habits.


Customer loyalty programmes: Implementing loyalty programs to incentivise repeat business and building strong relationships with local customers.

Curated product selection: Focusing on unique and locally sourced products that appeal to the community’s specific tastes and values.

Community engagement: Hosting events, workshops, or partnering with local organisations to create a sense of community and encourage local support.

3. Restaurants


During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants worldwide faced a sudden decline in demand due to lockdowns and safety concerns. Many restaurants had to adapt quickly to changing consumer behaviour and as a result, addition services were born from the restrictions.


Takeout and delivery services: Restaurants that previously focused on dine-in services rapidly expanded their takeout and delivery options to meet consumer demand for safer dining alternatives.

Meal kits and cooking classes: Some restaurants started offering meal kits or virtual cooking classes, allowing customers to recreate their favourite dishes at home, providing a new revenue stream.

Outdoor dining: Many restaurants set up outdoor dining areas, such as sidewalk cafes or expanded patios, to accommodate diners who were more comfortable eating outside.

4. Retail industry


In the age of e-commerce and changing consumer preferences, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have faced challenges with foot traffic and in-store sales.


Experiential retail: Some retailers have successfully transformed their physical stores into experiential destinations, providing unique in-store experiences, such as live events, product demonstrations, or interactive displays, to attract and retain customers.

Personalisation: Leveraging data analytics, retailers have improved personalisation efforts, tailoring marketing and product recommendations to individual customers, both online and in-store.


These examples illustrate how businesses can adapt to fluctuations in consumer demand by diversifying their offerings, leveraging digital tools and marketing strategies, and staying attuned to changing consumer behaviour and preferences. Adapting to these shifts will help businesses remain competitive and thrive in dynamic markets.

A high cost of living can lead to increased operating costs for businesses, including higher wages, office rents, and utilities. Maintaining healthy profit margins can become a challenge, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Businesses may need to find ways to optimise their operations or adjust pricing strategies to remain competitive. Don’t forget, the team here at Bells Accountants are here to help you, every step of the way.