Key Insights into Grocery Shopper Decision Making

Key Insights into Grocery Shopper Decision Making

Brand growth opportunities from in-depth analysis of more than 100,000 grocery shoppers

The following extracts from a major piece of supermarket research might that make you want to reassess your shopper knowledge and even your in-store marketing strategy.

I make no apology for the fact that the following insights may challenge current beliefs.

All of this data has been gathered in-store from real shoppers, who were actually shopping and buying/rejecting genuine stuff at the time. In other words, what follows is based on actual not claimed shopping behaviour.

Although shoppers plan to shop a category, 30% only decide which brand to buy when at the fixture

Even though shoppers may have planned to shop the category, the final choice of brand is often left until they are in the aisle. What this means is that on average, 30% of shoppers can be influenced in-store, at fixture. How much better could you make it for shoppers?

14% of shoppers actively change their minds at the fixture

A substantial percentage of shoppers switch between brands and products while in the aisle. Therefore, no matter how much brand building you conduct out of store, a proportion of shoppers will change their mind to and from your products for a variety of explicit and implicit reasons, while in-store.

20% of shoppers only decide to shop a category when they see it in-store

In addition, around 20% of grocery purchases are bought on impulse: That is to say, the decision to buy from a category is only made on the spur of the moment, when stood at the fixture. We’ve all done it, merrily walking around a store and suddenly spotting something and thinking ‘oh yes, I’m having that’: Be it a bar of chocolate or a 1,000 cc Honda motorbike (don’t ask).

71% of shoppers who bought an item on special offer would have bought it anyway

Shoppers who bought a product on offer would have bought it anyway, even if it hadn’t been on special offer. So basically, many in-store offers such as discounts, giveaways and multibuys are doing little more than rewarding already loyal customers. These promotions eat into margin and profit while doing little to grow the brands they promote.

We’ve also identified that what drives sales of promoted items isn’t so much the special offer added value, but simply the added visibility provided by the promotional signage and more colourful shelf edge labels.

In summary

The above statistics tell us that retail can be improved for retailers, brands and shoppers. But what is it going to take to initiate meaningful change? What do we need to do to give shoppers more of what they really want in-store? And what stops brands and retailers from going after the real truth about shopper needs?

In these competitive times, it has never been more important for you to understand why shoppers buy or reject your brand: And to do this effectively you need to understand what happens inside the mind of the shopper as they are shopping. Do you know the real reasons why shoppers visit your category, engage with it and choose one brand over another?

What's more, every category ‘behaves’ differently and shoppers have different needs depending on both category and retail channel. So you should also think about how much you still don’t know about the implicit and explicit shopper needs for your category across different channels?

In summary…

  • How visible and easy to find is your brand in-store?
  • Do you understand explicit and implicit shopper needs in-store?
  • And how well do you understand visibility and shopper needs across different channels?
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About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

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Phillip Adcock

Phillip Adcock CMRS
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Phillips Signature

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