New Research Reveals Grocery Shopping Trends

by Rodney Mason 0

In today’s shopping environment, consumer behaviors can change quickly, and in multiple ways. Grocery shopping is no exception, as evidenced by a 2015 report from Catalina network, detailing how the 100 leading grocery brands suffered an aggregate decline in sales and share across all categories, largely due to the ascendance of store brands.

Over the past six months, Blackhawk Engagement has done a number of national shopping studies of our own, including one focused solely on grocery shopping. In this survey of 1,500 grocery shoppers, we found that price sensitivity and instant access to deals and promotions are keeping pressure on retail and product companies to meet consumers on their own chosen ground, while greater acceptance of store brands is changing the price/value equation for all brands.

The upshot of our study is that grocery stores should be careful not to take their customers for granted. Today’s shopper is smart and prepared, arriving at the grocery store knowing exactly what they’re going to buy, and most importantly, why. The why is because they’ve worked to track down the very best deals available.

Here’s a summary of the overall findings:

Price is decisive

Asked to rank the most important factors in selecting a grocery store, low prices topped the list at 70%, easily outdistancing a need for particular products (59%) and somewhat surprisingly, location (48%). Three-quarters of shoppers described themselves as “budget-conscious” or “discount” shoppers. But 60% also consider themselves loyal to a particular store.

They do their homework

Shoppers arrive at the store intending and expecting to save money, with 58% actively seeking out deals prior to their visit, and 57% belonging to at least two grocery store loyalty programs. Nearly seven in 10 always use deals, promotions and coupons, and the rest do sometimes.

Rebates preferred over instant discounts

Given a choice between an instant discount and a deeper online rebate for single items, shoppers preferred the rebate each time in 10 different categories. Growing in popularity, rebates provide the opportunity for best-in-market prices while protecting margins.

Ready embrace of store brands

Shoppers are perfectly content with store brands. Almost three in four believe store brands are the same quality as national brands, while 91% believe store brands are a great value. In fact, only 52% sometimes or always make a point of buying national brands.

Most popular shopping apps

Women, the primary grocery shoppers, are becoming increasingly comfortable with shopping apps. Amazon is far and away the most popular app, with apps for local grocery stores heading the second-tier list. Grocery shoppers prefer apps for stores where they shop in person, such as Walmart or Target, but almost ignore third-party savings apps.

Here are some trends national brands, store brands and grocery stores themselves can consider to help capture a greater share of consumer wallet: