Survey Says Fewer Brand Decisions Made at the Shelf
As an AdAge.com article points out, it has become common for those in consumer products to state that 70 percent of all decisions on what brand to buy are made at the shelf. A new study from OgilvyAction contends that it’s time to throw out the old number and go with a new and lower one.
According to the study, 39.4 percent number is the real number of consumers who wait until they’re in a store before deciding what brand to buy. About 10 percent change their minds while in the store and 20 percent leave a product on the shelf that they intended to buy. Nearly 30 percent of consumers wind up making a purchase from a category that they didn’t intend to buy from before walking into a store.
“That 70 percent figure we’ve all heard over the years always sounded a little high, and we all know it’s a little high,” said Peter Hoyt, executive director of the In-Store Marketing Institute. “Some think it’s a lot high. I think what the Ogilvy study does effectively is help decompose [the data]. I think it’s closer to what we can accept as statistics having some validity. … But it’s not that 70 percent of every shopping cart is made up of something people didn’t [originally] intend to buy. That’s just not real.”
The original 70 percent study was conducted in 1995 by Meyers Research Center for the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI). In a statement, POPAI continued to support the 1995 findings. “There have been various studies that have arrived at different in-store decision rates over the years, based on unique methodologies, trade channels, and the context and location of consumer interviews. POPAI welcomes any research that helps brands, retailers and agencies understand the strategic importance of marketing at retail.”
The OgilvyAction study was based on interviews with 6,800 consumers in the U.S. (14,000 total across the globe) and covered shopping behavior in 13 categories including beverages, confectionary, hair care and household cleaning products.
While the new research failed to answer just how much advertising outside the store environment influences purchases, it did determine important factors that drive impulse purchases. Sampling and product displays ranked one and two.
“The good news for marketers is that a product display and sampling can build brand equity,” Jeff Froud, senior strategic planner for OgilvyAction, told AdAge.com. “No matter what rulebook you studied when you were studying marketing, price promotions don’t build any brand equity and in some cases can be equity destroyers.”
“More and more of our communication is moving to store,” A.G. Lafley, chairman and chief executive at Procter & Gamble, said last month at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. “And the reason it’s moving to store is that more and more consumers are… making their purchase decisions in store. And in a period where you have a fair amount of food price inflation, we think more of that shopping list, whether it’s just in [a shopper’s] head or actually written down, is being decided in the store.”
Discussion Questions: What do the findings of the OgilvyAction study mean for consumer goods brands and retailers? Does the number of brand purchase decisions made in store, 70 percent or 40 percent, mean anything in practical terms when it comes to display and other forms of in-store communication?