Top 5 Fake Shopper 'Insights'

The cold, hard fact is that as busy humans we forget a lot of what we do and think. Therefore, when faced with our mind going blank, do we own up and say so? Not likely, that would make us look stupid! Instead we 'concoct' a response that sound plausible and sensible.

Here are 5 well-established 'facts' about shoppers and shopping. Unfortunately, they are more fiction than fact based. Fact 6 is that shoppers and consumers provide responses during different types of market research surveys that are not entirely truthful. Not due to any evil plan to mislead, but more to do with the make up of the human brain.

1, “It's all about price” report numerous on-line panel studies

In many studies of actual shoppers in aisle, price is some way down the decision hierarchy. And on average, less than 50% of shoppers even consider price when shopping for individual grocery items.

2, “I just picked it up and put it in my trolley” Say shoppers

But when the research takes place in-store at the fixture 41% of shoppers just don't shop this way: 23% of shampoo shoppers open and smell the product in aisle as part of the selection, 14% of shopper shake a carton of juice and a similar percentage (of men) physically juggle a lettuce between shelf and trolley. Being able to identify moment of truth shopper needs opens up many new brand growth opportunities.

3, “I knew exactly what I wanted before arriving at the aisle” Is a common learning from supermarket exit surveys

But when you study the behaviour of shoppers as they shop, things are very different. On average, 40% of shoppers make some form of choice related decision when stood at the fixture in the aisle. In other words, 40% can be influenced (that's a big opportunity).

4, “I only bought it because it was on offer” Is the justification shoppers often give to researchers

As many as 87% of shoppers buying an item on special offer in UK supermarkets would still have bought it even if there wasn't any promotion. So let's stop rewarding existing, loyal customers and start working towards driving increased category penetration instead. How? By understanding the psychology of promotions.

5, “I always buy the gondola end special offers” shoppers constantly say

Although product sales increase when an item is promoted on gondola end, many, many in-store research projects have identified that the actual added sales come from the aisle not the gondola end. Why? Because the ends increase mental awareness of the product, this is known as the mere exposure effect. and drives shoppers to the main aisle to compare and buy (contrary to some established research thinking).

So why then, in the face of this evidence, do some brands and retailers make critical business decisions based on what is potentially flawed data? There is excellent shopper research out there, you just need to make sure you understand what it takes to get meaningful insight as opposed to lies, damn lines and therefore, meaningless statistics.

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?

If you think there is value in this article then please, please share it, thank you.

Phillip Adcock
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Are you fascinated by how shoppers think?

If you’re as fascinated by how shoppers think as I am, check out my books on Amazon for more insightful, provocative and stimulating information.

More from Brainsights

Shopper and Consumer Psychology Towards Sustainability

If building a sustainable business was a fashionable trend five years ago, today it is a business imperative. Leading brands & retailers have figured out that focusing on environmental & social factors is a necessity in today’s marketplace. And if done well, it is a true competitive advantage. But what does sustainability really mean to shoppers, in-store, or online at the moment they make their purchasing decisions?

Read Story

The Psychological Benefits of a Secondary Display In-store

Have you ever stopped to think about how many sales and how much share you might be losing, simply because your brand isn’t as psychologically effective in-store as those of the competition?

Read Story

Path to Purchase - Which is more effective in-store, on shelf?

Is the in-store performance of your brand suffering because it isn’t aligned with the minds of shoppers? Would you like to make retailing better for shoppers, better for your brand and better for your business?

Read Story

Learn about the
mind of the consumer

A guide to discovering what consumers really want

Download FREE now!

Get the latest brainsights straight to your email box

We will never share your email address with third parties.