Monday, September 19, 2011

Groceries Go Beyond Grocery Stores

Today, Perception Research Services International (PRS), unveiled results from their shopper research survey focused on grocery sales and shopping trends.

A trip to your neighborhood mass merchandiser, drug or dollar store will reveal how these outlets are encroaching on grocery sales that had once been reserved for traditional supermarkets. PRS’s survey results indicate that while most shoppers (92%) say they’ve purchased groceries in supermarkets or grocery stores in the past 3 months, many (76%) indicate they’ve purchased them at Mass Merchandisers, and nearly half (47%) mention Drug stores as a venue for purchasing grocery items. Importantly, one third of shoppers interviewed (32%) report buying groceries in Dollar stores in the past 3 months.

Given the considerable efforts on the part of retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target to bolster their grocery offerings, it’s not surprising to see the shift to Mass outlets for grocery purchases. However, rather than stating a benefit or preference for buying groceries at these stores, shoppers cite price as the primary reason for doing so, followed by the fact that they’re already there, buying other merchandise.

Drug stores are a convenient alternative to larger grocery and megastores, giving shoppers the ability to get in and out quickly or pick up a grocery item while shopping for non-grocery items.

As would be expected, price is the primary motive for purchasing groceries in Dollar stores.

Interestingly, purchase shifts by product category are evident as shoppers indicate buying less cleaning and personal products in supermarkets in the past 3 months. They claim to be buying more of all grocery items in Mass outlets – primarily food; while in Drug stores, they buy more personal products, and more of both personal and cleaning products in Dollar stores.

“Many factors are contributing to this ‘channel-crossing’ trend,” comments Jonathan Asher, senior vice president at PRS, “including the desire of shoppers to consolidate several shopping trips into one (to save both time and gas); the desire of retailers to increase register rings by offering more types of non-customary items which bring more shoppers into their stores; as well as encourage them to buy more while there. Also, with the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions, there are fewer competitors within channels, and so the focus of competition has naturally shifted across channels.”

As all of these factors continue to play a role, retailers will need to apply their skills and expertise in new ways, learning how to effectively merchandise products they had not previously carried or paying new attention to items that have been collecting dust on their shelves for a long time.

This online study was conducted among over 1,500 shoppers, aged 18+, during May, 2011.

About PRS
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Perception Research Services International (PRS) specializes in shopper research to develop, assess and improve in-store communications, including packaging and merchandising systems. PRS conducts over 800 studies annually on behalf of marketers, designers and manufacturers, including: qualitative research, on-shelf packaging assessments, in-store, online and with PRS Eye-Tracking. With office locations throughout the United States, Europe and Singapore, our global reach helps clients win at retail the world over. For more information visit

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