A poll of 2,000 adults found 65 per cent have stopped shopping for non–essential items, while 15 per cent have completely cut out shopping sprees.
More than half (55 per cent) are holding back because of the guilt of splashing out while others are struggling.
And 60 per cent reckon this change in approach isn’t fleeting, as the current economic crisis will have a long–term impact on their shopping habits.
The research was commissioned by Virgin Red, which has launched its “Points Index” report looking at consumer trends and the role loyalty programmes play in daily life.
Andrea Burchett from Virgin Red, said: "While retail therapy may be paused for many consumers, the likelihood is they’ll find new ways to fill that void.
“Be that scouring the web for bargains, high street shopping at opportune times, or looking out for items which come with added extras.
“Shopping smartly seems to be the way forward for the time being.”
The study also found of the 31 per cent who’ve ever been on a shopping spree, 89 per cent said the cost–of-living-crisis has made this activity less enjoyable.
So perhaps it’s no surprise the study found almost all (92 per cent) have changed how they go about this activity.
Tweaks included seeking out second-hand and refurbished goods (33 per cent) and purchasing items that come with incentives such as loyalty points (52 per cent).
While 37 per cent now take more time to plan their purchases rather than spend money with little thought.
It also emerged 56 per cent get more satisfaction now than they used to before the cost–of–living–crisis from finding bargains and products with extras such as loyalty points or cashback.
Almost two thirds (64 per cent) also claim to be savvier at spotting deals of this kind.
Carried out through OnePoll, the study also found 75 per cent of adults are signed–up for loyalty point schemes.
And 36 per cent of them have collected at a higher rate since the current economic situation took hold.
Andrea Burchett added: "Consumers are being more careful with their money as expected –but the study also suggests they’re getting enjoyment from spending in new ways.
“If they shop smart and collect loyalty points as much as possible, they can treat themselves more readily and earn discounts on future purchases."