After powering online sales to new heights during the pandemic, consumers are pulling back on spending, saying inflation is taking its toll and that economic uncertainty has them bracing for the worst, according to a new consumer loyalty survey conducted by commerce protection provider Signifyd.

While inflation remains stubborn, ecommerce prices are declining, acting as an inflation decelerator for the first time in years.

When asked about their spending plans in key retail verticals, nearly 80% of consumers said they would not be spending more in any of them this year, save for one — grocery, which continues to torment consumers with rising prices.

The responses indicate that consumers are more pessimistic about the economy and their finances than they were a year ago when Signifyd conducted a similar survey.

Analysing the frequency and recency of online purchases over time shows the importance — and in some cases the transience — of merchants’ most loyal customers.

In the survey’s electronics vertical, for instance, only a modest percentage of loyalists, which Signifyd labelled “Soulmates,” stick with a merchant from year to year.

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That leaves brands scrambling for the less loyal, which make up cohorts Signifyd called “Hot Dates,” “Ghosters” and “Exes,” again based on the frequency and recency of purchases.

In the survey, two-thirds of consumers said they abandoned their go-to brands to shop with a competitor in the past year, with a third of them jumping ship because of a bad customer experience.

Signifyd data analyst Phelim Killough commented: “Consumer loyalty has always been a key to retail success and never more so than in times of economic uncertainty for both businesses and consumers.”

A key part of consumer loyalty is cybersecurity, which Signifyd fraud director Amal Ahmed recently told Retail Insight Network is currently being threatened by returns fraud.