Younger Grocery Shoppers Likely to Use New Media Before Next Grocery Trip

Grocery stores and food manufacturers need to reassess traditional approaches to shopper marketing, according to the just-​released "Food Shopper Insights: Grocery Shopping Patterns in the U.S.," by market research publisher Packaged Facts. 

Packaged Facts' March 2011 Food Shopper Insights Survey shows that a substantial proportion of grocery shopping trips were organized around narrowly focused missions, such as purchasing items needed for the next few days or picking up groceries shoppers had run out of. One in three were shopping to buy what they needed for a specific meal or recipe, one in five were picking up food in a grocery store rather than using fast food, and one in ten went grocery shopping because of "being hungry." Given the prevalence of narrower missions rather than pantry-​stock goals, half of grocery shoppers spent less than $50 and bought fewer than 15 items on their most recent grocery shopping trips.

Even though food shoppers often are operating within a short time horizon, grocery shopping remains an activity that involves preparation. A substantial majority of grocery shoppers do some kind of planning beforehand, such as making a shopping list, gathering coupons, looking for product or sale information or looking for menu or recipe ideas. This preliminary preparation provides an opening where conventional grocery marketing increasingly falls short. For example, traditional promotional circulars and flyers reach only 21% of all grocery shoppers prior to their most recent grocery shopping trip.

Not surprisingly, younger grocery shoppers are especially likely to use new media to get ready for their most recent grocery shopping trip. "With nearly four in ten grocery shoppers frequently using social media and networking on mobile devices such as cell phones and smart phones, location-​based shopping assistants on mobile devices may soon upend conventional approaches to in-​store shopper marketing," according to David Sprinkle, the publisher for Packaged Facts. "For example, the Meijer supercenter chain is testing a 'Find-​It' application that allows shoppers to instantly locate any of the more than 100,000 items stocked, plus it displays current sales and other promotions going on in a specific store."

High tech continues to be balanced out by old school, even so: word-​of-​mouth remains a critical component of the path to purchase. Women are especially likely to turn to others for product and recipe information that will affect their purchase decisions in the grocery store. Around three in five often try new grocery products that are recommended by family and friends, and more than half get ideas from TV cooking shows about what to eat and cook. Additional findings of the Packaged Facts research involve the considerable loyalty of grocery shoppers to their chosen stores. Nearly half of those surveyed were "very satisfied" with their most recent grocery shopping experience; 75% had only one store in mind before they last set out to go food shopping, and 59% went to the same grocery store where they had been shopping for five years or more. Around one in four chose to shop at the store where they went on their last grocery shopping trip because of the store's savings/​loyalty club cards. The bottom line: once a grocery store captures new customers, they will likely keep shopping there — as long as the food store meets their evolving needs.

[Source:  "Food Shopper Insights: Grocery Shopping Patterns in the U.S."  Packaged Facts.  29 June 2011.  Web.  13 July 2011.]