Consumers respond strongly to purchase influencers: NGA-SG study

Savings opportunities greatly affect basket size – as chief household shoppers balance procurement with budget stretching.

February 13, 2014

To help stretch household budgets, shoppers are opportunists when they buy food.  They bring numerous savings behaviors to the supermarket – these are mostly trained responses to retailer offers designed to drive trips and volume.  

Findings of the National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru 2014 Consumer Survey Report show the Top 4 reactions to purchase influencers, for the third consecutive year, are:

  • “Stock up on an item when you find a bargain” (48.2%).  This rises from 46.0% in 2013 and 47.7% in 2012.  
  • “Look in newspapers for grocery specials” (39.7%).  This declines from 42.0% in 2013 and 45.5% in 2012.  
  • “Participate in a supermarket frequent shopper program or savings club programs” (30.1%).  This keeps within the narrow range between 2013’s 29.3% and 2012’s 30.3%.  
  • “Buy products on special even if you hadn’t planned to buy them that day” (24.2%).  This rises from 2013’s 22.7% and 2012’s 23.7%. 

These figures exceed 100% because survey respondents were able to check multiple responses to this question.

“Buy only what’s on your list” (22.8%) lands in the Top 5 for the first time, rising from 2013’s 20.8% and 2012’s 19.9%.  It surpasses two other activities in 2014 to make the top tier – “use cents-off coupons received in the mail or from newspapers/magazines” (21.5%, down from 2013’s 28.6%) and “buy store brands or lower-priced brands instead of national brands” (21.5%, up from 2013’s 21.0%).

Respondents that stock up most when they find bargains are:  two-person households (55.9%); the highest-income households of $165,001+ per year (55.4%); seniors 65 and older (54.7%); and the heaviest grocery spenders of $101+ per week (51.3%).

Social networks and apps also weigh in as purchase influencers – and they are generally on the rise, the NGA-SG research shows.  For instance:

  • Facebook mentions (29.9%) top 2013’s 28.0% and 2012’s 29.0%; Pinterest (15.8%) beats 2013’s 12.5%; Twitter (6.6%) rebounds from last year’s dip to 5.4% from 2012’s 6.7%; and Instagram notches 2.5% in its first appearance on our survey list; YouTube (2.9%) was the same as in 2013.  These gains should continue, as retailers and brands improve their use of analytics and messaging strategies to engage mobile users directly – with nutrition insights, recipes, new product information and purchase incentives.  
  • Already, more than one-third of consumers (36.9%) say that they’ve downloaded a food or beverage app, up from 21.0% in 2013, 19.6% in 2012, and 11.0% in 2011.  This happens the most among: consumers age 24 and younger (59.5%) and 25 to 39 (56.0%); high-income households of $125,001-$165,000 per year (53.5%) and $165,001+ (47.4%); households of five or more (45.8%); and heavy grocery spenders of $101+ per week (41.5%).
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