Consumer buying behavior displays signs of permanence, according to a recent survey by the National Grocers Association.
Today's trends may still be around tomorrow, according to the 2010 Consumer Survey Report by the National Grocers Association. Nearly 2,500 consumers were surveyed on topics ranging from price to brands to store quality.
Spending figures remain essentially unchanged from the 2009 report, with fourteen percent of respondents saying they spend between $96 and $105 a week on food, up only one percent from a year ago, and 14 percent saying they spend more than $136, down two percent from 2009.
Low prices continue to drive sales, with half of respondents deeming low prices “very important” and 45 percent judging them “somewhat important.” Among those earning less than $45,000 per year, 56 percent cited low prices as “very important”; among households with one or two people, the response was 61 percent; and among households with no children living at home, it was 64 percent. Seventy-three percent of people surveyed said they stock up when they find a bargain, and circulars and coupons remain popular, with two-third of respondents reporting that they look for ads in newspapers and 65 percent reporting coupon use.
National brands will be happy to hear that 44 percent of respondents said private label products were only “somewhat important,” with only a quarter calling them “very important” and almost the same number deeming them “not too important” — a possible indication that consumers are ready to move back to national brand items. Although the number of people who rated private label “somewhat important” or “very important” remains unchanged from last year, the number that rated private label “very important” dropped from 27 percent a year ago, “[which] could suggest there's a limit to the drawing power of private label, at least for the higher-income groups that could afford to spend more,” the study pointed out.
The popularity of locally grown food is growing, with a five percent increase in shoppers who ranked the trend as “very important,” signaling “consumers want to support local resources, and they want fresh, safe foods. ‘Local’ has gone mainstream,” the survey noted, “and the definition has expanded to ‘locale,’ where branding identifies benefits from U.S.-grown products.”
Retailers who want to capture more sales should focus on several areas, paying particular attention to bakery development, as 38 percent of respondents cited high-quality bakeries as being very important to them. And when asked what improvements they would like to see at their supermarket, 46 percent said better prices or cost savings, 41 percent named locally grown foods and 30 percent said they wanted to see more variety.
“It's imperative that food stores align their offers with what people want today,” the study said, “because this could well be what people want for years to come — competitive prices, attention to food safety, healthful assortments, great fruits and vegetables, lots of nutritional information, personal safety outside the store, frequent cardholder promotions, speedy checkouts, and support of local growers and other nearby food suppliers.”
IMPORTANT FACTORS IN DECIDING WHERE TO SHOP FOR GROCERIES
|High-quality fruits and vegetables||100 percent*|
|A clean, neat store||99 percent|
|Selling products before expiration date||98 percent|
|Accurate shelf tags||97 percent|
|Low prices||96 percent|
|Courteous, friendly employees||94 percent|
|Items on sale or money-saving specials||94 percent|
|High-quality meats||93 percent|
|Personal safety outside the store||91 percent|
|Store layout makes it easy to shop||91 percent|
SOURCE: 2010 NGA Consumer Survey Report