Is grocery shopping becoming more enjoyable?

Discussion
Oct 07, 2014

According to research from Acosta Sales & Marketing, 54 percent of total U.S. shoppers say they enjoy grocery shopping, up from 41 percent in 2011. Beyond the improved economy, the study concluded that the enhanced enjoyment is being driven by "the thrill of the hunt."

Among those who enjoy shopping, 40 percent like finding new products to try, 38 percent like looking for the best deals/sale items and 25 percent like browsing the aisle for products.

The report, entitled "The Why? Behind The Buy," also showed marked increases in shopper enjoyment within specific ethnic and age groups. Seventy-two percent of Asian-Americans, 67 percent of African-Americans, 66 percent of Hispanics and 64 percent of Millennials reported they like to grocery shop.

"It’s extremely encouraging for the grocery industry to see that consumers are shopping with renewed enthusiasm," said Colin Stewart, SVP, Acosta, in a statement. "Shopper engagement, combined with improving economic conditions and increased consumer confidence, is giving way to an improved environment for CPGs and retailers to build brand loyalty, introduce new products and grow their business."

Overall, the research found that shoppers spend an average of $318.70 per month on groceries — the highest figure since Acosta began the survey in 2009 — compared to $288.70 a year ago.

Whole Foods shopper

Among the factors said to be helping enhance grocery shopping for some were:

Prepared foods: Spending on food prepared outside the home has increased 22.4 percent to an average of $123.70 per month compared to $101.00 last year;

Snacking: With fewer people eating three square meals a day, nearly seven in 10 consumers who snack have eaten a snack in place of a meal at least once in the past month. Millennials are the least likely to eat three meals a day and are more likely to snack on protein/energy bars, smoothies/blended drinks and energy drinks;

Frozen foods: While frozen foods have been experiencing sales declines, 30 percent of Millennials and 21 percent of Gen X shoppers report they have purchased more frozen foods in the past year;

Digital shopping: Twenty-seven percent of shoppers review a store’s digital circular before shopping; 17 percent use a shopping list on a mobile device while shopping; 22 percent log into store loyalty programs/update points/trip information after shopping.

Beyond the improved economy and greater consumer confidence, what factors do you see behind the apparent heightening in attitudes around grocery shopping? What trends or services offer the most potential to enhance grocery shopping enjoyment?

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14 Comments on "Is grocery shopping becoming more enjoyable?"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

So how does this fly in the race to provide online groceries? People are feeling better about themselves and shopping to upgrade their lives and experiences. The more grocers concentrate on that, the better they will differentiate from the dirt-scratchers focused on price.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
7 years 7 months ago

Years ago there was a radio show called, “I Love A Mystery.” And smart retailers are dealing in providing more “mystery.” It was popular back then and today a large and growing number consumers with more discretionary income are embracing its tenet.

New, new, new—the hunt is on to be part of that movement which searches to find stores that will give them a sense of theater, more fulfillment, a chance to discover new mysteries and something to remember a store by—other than price.

Ben Ball
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

More beer and wine sampling!

(Mariano’s does a great job with this in Chicago by the way.)

Debbie Hauss
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

A number of factors are contributing to more favorable feelings about the grocery experience. First, the recession motivated more consumers to cook at home more frequently. Food television also has captured the attention of many consumers who are now trying new recipes and cooking methods with a new level of confidence. Grocers like Wegmans and Whole Foods are taking advantage of these trends by offering a better in-store experience. Shoppers can now purchase meals and stay inside the store to eat. The newest Whole Foods I’ve seen is offering a complete vegetarian menu in addition to the regular salad bar and hot food offerings. I expect to see more unique and innovative ideas from these and other forward-thinking merchants.

Ed Stevens
Guest
Ed Stevens
7 years 7 months ago

Grocery stores, even large chains, have done a much better job recently sourcing products locally. Whole Foods is especially adept at this with its local forager program.

Buying local products is a lot of fun and rewarding. I believe the “local” trend is helping people enjoy grocery shopping more.

Joel Rubinson
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

I have always felt that shopping had enjoyable aspects to most shoppers but that surveys didn’t try to get at it the right way. (Like direct questioning about advertising will always wrongly reveal that people hate advertising.) Furthermore, I think that grocery shopping gives many a purpose that would lead to a feeling of loss if it were taken away.

Diana McHenry
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

Groceries and retailers overall are spending more time understanding customer preferences. Customer activity analysis and high-performance retail platforms allow grocers to more rapidly adapt to Millennials’ preferences, offer more ethnic options (which also appeal to traditional center store folks) and communicate these options in a personal manner.

David Zahn
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

Not at all sure I subscribe to the findings (at least not yet—as any researcher knows, the answers you receive are very much predicated on the questions asked and/or the prompts for potential responses provided). However, accepting the findings as they are reported, I think the inclusion of more “ethnic/status/affiliation” items is driving interest.

Food items are now closely aligned with how people either self-perceive or wish to be perceived by others (earth-friendly, healthy, exotic, worldly, informed, etc.). So, as price/cost becomes less of the ONLY factor for more and more shoppers (though, still a key component), people are able to use food items (or household items/cleaning items) to express themselves.

George-Marie Glover
Guest
George-Marie Glover
7 years 7 months ago

One of the main reasons I believe that online shopping will never fully replace brick-and-mortar is because people like to have all their senses engaged while shopping. This is especially true of shopping for groceries.

Seasonal shifts and holidays are great opportunities to introduce customers to new flavors and items. Tasting stations sampling seasonal favorites should be a must (as fall is here, hot cider and anything pumpkin would be recommended).

I particularly like how Trader Joe’s has an established corner of the store where they are always sampling foods and coffees. At other stores where I shop, you never know where samples, if any, may be offered.

Those stores that present consistent pleasurable experiences will establish loyal customers.

Jason Nathan
Guest
Jason Nathan
7 years 7 months ago

One of the big trends of the last few years in grocery retailing has been the increasing differentiation and fragmentation of offer, both in brand propositions and within brands.

Today in the U.K., for instance—as compared to three years ago—you are much more likely to have a so-called discounter (Lidl or Aldi) or upscale retailer (Waitrose, Booth’s) or convenience format store (M Local, Little Waitrose, Tesco Express) within your catchment area: Either home or work.

As I see it, the same trends are true in the U.S.: This means that there are more grocery retail propositions aligned to what customers want and how they want to shop. Therefore, it follows that more individual shopping occasions are likely to be enjoyable and, at aggregate level, more customers enjoy their grocery shop.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

I am astounded by the survey!

I can’t think of anyone I know who actually enjoys grocery shopping. Most people I know see it as a necessary burden and an infringement on time. If they didn’t have to do, it they would not.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

A personal story: I am one who never enjoyed or would go shopping, groceries or anything. Just would not happen unless absolutely forced into it. Then my wife became incapacitated and I was forced to do it. Boy, did I make mistakes. I had to exchange many mistakes for what I was supposed to buy.

When she got better, she made it her mission to teach me to shop (groceries only). I did get better and now enjoy doing it as long as it is not the weekly list. One more thing — I am still not allowed to buy meats or fish.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
7 years 7 months ago

Stores are getting more specialized in order to cater to the evolving needs and wants of consumers. CPG brands are helping create innovative shopping experiences with more new item introductions than ever. What’s not to love as a consumer?! Grocery shopping is definitely more fun than it has ever been. Foodies have a veritable cornucopia of choices to indulge every urge.

The greatest differentiator for stores is service, just like it has always been. Sampling, on-floor cooking classes, concierge clubs that go way beyond traditional mass discount frequent shopper cards — services are the most critical opportunity for stores. Period.

Naomi K. Shapiro
Guest
Naomi K. Shapiro
7 years 7 months ago

I think grocery shopping is still one of the interactive activities left that brings people in contact with other people and sensually in contact with things on the grocery shelves. Sort of a sad commentary on how we are evolving (or maybe devolving) socially, thanks to technology.

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