Changes in grocery shopping trends see more purchase decisions made at-home

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th November 2009

Underneath all the news coverage highlighting the dichotomy between a range of economic indicators that point to a recovering economy and the persistent concern about the sustainability of a recovery are many subtle behaviours from shoppers that combine to form significant trends. A new report from American-based IRI, “Zero-Moment of Truth: Redefining the Consumer Decision-Making Process,” takes an in-depth look at how shoppers learn about, plan for and execute their consumer packaged goods (CPG) shopping trips and surprisingly discovers that Generation Y is the most frugal shopping group.

Perhaps the most salient of the trends is represented by where consumers make their CPG decisions. As late as 2007, 60 per cent of shoppers made their decisions at home and 40 per cent in the store. However, in July of this year, 83 per cent of shoppers stated that they are making their purchase decisions at home and 64 per cent of shoppers now make a list prior to visiting a store.

“While there is a stereotype that it is aging boomers who are most likely to make shopping lists, clip coupons and generally practice the most draconian money-saving strategies, it is actually Millennials, shoppers under the age of 30, that represent the most frugal consumer segment,” IRI Shopper Marketing & Innovation President Thom Blischok advised. “In fact, this group is most heavily represented in four out of seven money-saving activities researched by IRI.”

“Additionally, our research indicates that Millennials’ frugal ways will persist long after the recession ends.”

In-store shopper behaviours have also changed during the past several years. The IRI study indicates that the majority (54%) of shoppers notice promotions in the shelf area of the store, a significant seven point increase versus 2004. However, the same report also reveals that the time shoppers spend in front of the shelf has dipped from 49 to 43 seconds during the same period of time. CPG companies and retailers must take note of these critical changes and be succinct in their in-store communication.

IRI concluded that CPG retailers and manufacturers seeking to understand and deliver against the new consumer mindset should consider the following action items:

* Product Marketing: Collaborate with key retail or manufacturer partners to facilitate consumers’ list-making efforts with innovative programs combining convenience and savings, such as buy one/get one and discounts on combined meal ingredients/components, etc.
* Customer Marketing: Work with key retail or manufacturer partners to create cross-merchandising and cross-promotional programs which feature products that are complementary to targeted trip types.
* In-Store Marketing: Closely tie in-store efforts with externally-targeted promotional campaigns to reinforce/solidify purchase decisions made prior to entering the retail environment.