2013 NGA-SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Survey Part 1

The Lempert Report
February 19, 2013

In the next three episodes of TLR we will share some of the findings from 2013 NGA SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Survey.

Last week, at the National Grocers Association Annual meeting, the 2013 NGA SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Survey was released. In the next three episodes of TLR we will share some of the findings. For the complete report go to nationalgrocers.org. Will 2013 be a lucky year for supermarkets? the year that market share grows for the first time in a decade, trips and baskets build, and real growth (not from food inflation) positions grocers for success? Is this just a Pipe dream? True, Washington DC is a mess. Consumer spending is in a pinch. And the way people relate to food and supermarkets is quite different from the recent past. In 2013, consumers will see supermarkets either as part of the problem or part of the solution to help them live better. Questions they ask, as they assess where they shop, will connect food with their lifestyles and focus less on price. This creates a special opportunity for independent supermarkets, which may lack scale to compete fiercely on price, but have many elements in place consumers covet. To tell a complete story, when analyzing findings from this comprehensive national consumer study, N.G.A. and SupermarketGuru dug deep to show differences in demographics and lifestyles. For instance, we looked at differences between the nation’s heaviest weekly grocery spenders and the lightest. We also examined age, ethnicity, gender (since more males food-shop today), household size and household income. There’s encouraging news to begin: Primary supermarkets earn more satisfaction scores of 8, 9 and 10 (on a scale of 10 where 10 is excellent) this year, up 5.4 points to 71.5%, as African-Americans and seniors 65+ dispense the most 10s. A related measure shows 84.0% of chief household shoppers buy most of their foods at a primary supermarket, an uptick that stops a multi-year slide. Key segments say this the most, including the heaviest grocery spenders, larger households of three to four members, and Boomers. Meanwhile, independents may well benefit from less focus on price when consumers choose a primary grocer. Low prices alone won’t pull in shoppers seeking diverse appeals in a store. Low prices don’t even crack the Top 10 list of important store features: just 41.7% call it “very important”; this is well below the 51.0% peak in 2009 and 2010 and the 44.0% in 2011, though up a bit from 39.5% in 2012. The lowest-income households, the lightest grocery spenders, and minorities lead those who view low prices as “very important.” A related sign that price matters less than other enduring appeals: for the first time in recent memory, less than half of consumers (49.1%) say items on sale/money-saving specials are “very important.” Down steadily from 60.0% in 2010, the two lowest income groups drive this measure. Tune in to the next TLR to hear why shoppers switch stores.