Forget the weekly shop. Shoppers are on a more specific mission

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Grocery shopping Mobile phone Supermarket

Growing numbers of shoppers are spending less than $50 at a time on fewer than 15 items
Growing numbers of shoppers are spending less than $50 at a time on fewer than 15 items
Grocery shoppers are increasingly hitting food stores on a “narrowly focused mission” – perhaps shopping for a specific meal, or because they have run out of something – rather than stocking up for the week, according to Packaged Facts.

In its new report ‘Food Shopper Insights: Grocery Shopping Patterns in the US’, the market researcher notes that a “substantial proportion of grocery shopping trips are now organized around narrowly focused missions, such as purchasing items needed for the next few days or picking up groceries shoppers have run out of​”.

In a recent poll of 2,000 adults who had shopped for groceries within the past 24 hours, one in three had gone shopping to buy food for a specific meal or recipe, one in five was picking up food for that night instead of eating out, and one in 10 cited "being hungry​” as the reason for the trip.

Half spend less than $50 at a time

Half had spent less than $50 and bought fewer than 15 items on the most recent trip.

This did not necessarily mean that shopping had become an entirely spontaneous activity, just that manufacturers and retailers needed to find new ways of reaching customers on more specific missions, stressed Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle.

“A substantial majority of grocery shoppers ​[still] 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.”

“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 up-end conventional approaches to in-store shopper marketing.”


Meanwhile, store loyalty cards and savings schemes remained a big draw, with one in four adults polled claiming to have shopped at the store in question because of its savings/loyalty club cards.

Meanwhile, nearly half of those surveyed were "very satisfied​" with their most recent grocery shopping experience; 75 percent had only one store in mind before setting off to go food shopping, and 59 percent went to the same grocery store where they had been shopping for five years or more, said Sprinkle.

“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.”

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