NGA-SG Poll: Courting Shoppers More Complex in 2015

Our exclusive survey shows shopper demand jumps for supermarket savings, speed, special requests and dietitian presence – for starters.

February 11, 2015

The Lempert Report is in its second decade of polling U.S. consumers for the annual National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Survey Report. We’ve uncovered and benchmarked some dramatic shifts in Americans’ relationships with foods and the stores where we buy them – in both good economies and The Great Recession.

In 2015, as the economy perks up for many but not all, we see significant gains in shopper demand for money-saving specials, everyday low prices, checkout speed, the meeting of special requests, and the presence of dietitians in supermarkets. Shoppers are hot for well-rounded excellence from their primary food stores. TLR editor Phil Lempert, who is also CEO of SupermarketGuru.com, presented this week our new research findings to NGA members at the 2015 NGA Show. 

Our 2015 survey also maps - for the first time ever - consumer response to data breaches at retail, and the onslaught of online grocery delivery services.  (See our detailed story on these findings in our sister newsletter Facts, Figures & The Future on Thursday, February 12. Click here to subscribe so you don’t miss it.) 

Data highlights on some key survey topics show:

  • A bounce of nearly 10 percentage points for “deals.” Six in 10 consumers (59.8%) now call them “very important.” People love the rush of finding a hot buy. This measure was 50.4% in 2014 and 49.1% in 2013; the jump to the current measure practically equals the 2010 recession peak of 60.0%.   
  • A four-point jump in the low prices “very important” rating to 38.4% underscores the financial pressures that families still feel today - six years since the recession began, and despite government figures that sound more optimistic than life actually is for millions of people. The mark is well above last year’s 34.3% “very” important rating as an influence on store choice, yet is still far below the 51.0% levels of 2009 and 2010.
  • Mobile wallets bring new ways to speed the payment process. Until shoppers more fully embrace the technology, and supermarkets are equipped to accept it, the quickest way to give shoppers what they want – passage out the door – is to keep lines moving with ample cashiers and baggers. Time spent at checkout matters to 96.7% of respondents who say it is “very/somewhat” important to their store selection.  
  • At its highest level ever in 2015, 80.7% of consumers call “paying attention to special requests or needs” a “very/somewhat important” influence on where they buy food. It eclipses the previous peak mark of 2010 and 2011 (80.3%), and distances by nearly 12 points from the 2013 level of 68.9%.  
  • Primary supermarkets cross a threshold on “dietitian presence” in 2015. More than one consumer in four (27.1%) rates their favorite store as “excellent/good” at providing this service. Last year, the figure was just 22.6%. This suggests that visible dietitians enhance a store’s wellness credibility, help households eat smarter overall, and identify, locate and purchase appropriate foods for specific health conditions. Consumers 39 and younger drove the “excellent” response.
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