As previously reported by CivicScience, consumers are aware of shortages and higher prices creeping into their favorite retail locations. As more container ships from international ports pile up in the waters outside LA, Savannah, and elsewhere, the situation starts to look and feel a little dire. 

Recent trade policies and tariffs are an important part of the ongoing conversation about the economy and consumer behavior. In the last several months, U.S. adults’ perspective has shifted. More people are noticing their receipt totals are getting higher, and counts of consumers spending less as a result is increasing.

Consumers admit to being “very concerned,” a sentiment that increased greatly between September and October. Those “not at all concerned” have been trending downward since July.

Naturally, homeowners, parents, and grandparents show greater concern about the impact of tariffs, and have noticed recent changes in their household’s spending. Younger generations are less aware and concerned by a significant amount.

The impact of tariffs is affecting households of all income levels. One-third or greater of each income group say they’ve been buying less because prices are higher.

Supply chain issues causing shortages is reminiscent of barren store shelves and stockpiles of toilet paper during the height of the pandemic. In fact, more than half the country (63%) is currently stocked up on essentials to get them through an extended period of time, while 48% plan on stocking up or adding to their stash within the next few months.

People who like Walmart, compared to those who like Target, Costco, and Sam’s Club, are the most likely to plan on stockpiling essentials in the next two months.

One of the most-coveted items is still toilet paper, although 35% report being already stocked up on rolls to last them a while. And although 35% of Americans are stocked up on food, food is the number one item people say they will start stashing away.