Consumers respond strongly to purchase influencers: NGA-SG study

February 13, 2014

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

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%).