Consumers Want More Convenience, Value Than Traditional Grocery Stores Offer

Consumers Want More Convenience, Value Than Traditional Grocery Stores
Penetration by channel and point of change since 2016, according to IRI's 2019 Consumer Connect Survey

Chicago-based IRI’s Q4 2019 Consumer Connect Survey shows that consumers prioritize saving time, effort and money, and that they're shifting their shopping habits to channels they feel best support them. 

Traditional grocery, drug and mass still rate as the top channels, but the penetration in those retailers has decreased since 2016, suggesting that they're losing shoppers to other channels. Value retailers, which include dollar stores and ecommerce platforms, have seen 1.4- and 6-point increases in penetration, respectively, during the same time period. 

“Consumers across the board cited time and cost savings as key drivers of where they choose to shop, which is causing a shift away from the channels that we are used to seeing dominate the CPG space,” said Joan Driggs, IRI’s VP of content and thought leadership. “In particular, we found that heavy shoppers are being attracted to dollar retailers over competing channels, likely because they are looking for ways to save. We expect this will continue to negatively impact sectors like grocery and pharmacy, which have lost their ability to protect and cultivate their core shopper base.”

The dollar channel saw an increase in the frequency of trips per month and per-trip spending compared with a year ago, relative to competing channels. Ecommerce platforms also experienced a greater number of trips, but saw average basket size decrease.

IRI’s Consumer Connect Index also monitors the current financial health and outlook of consumers. The Q4 report revealed that overall consumer confidence has increased by nearly 1% since the Q4 2018 report, and is up 1.5% against the data from last quarter.

More than half (57%) of consumers reported that they feel good about their financial health, and 73% expressed confidence that their households’ economic well-being would improve within the next six months. 

"Despite an atmosphere of economic uncertainty, consumer confidence and outlook remain favorable," Driggs added. "The optimism we recorded in our Consumer Connect survey is likely to have a positive effect on sales in the CPG industry, which we expect to continue growing incrementally through 2020, and exceed $886 billion by 2021."

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