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EXCLUSIVE: Consumers Prefer Traditional Grocery Stores

YouGov poll conducted for Progressive Grocer also shows inflation remains a top concern
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Source: Exclusive research by YouGov for Progressive Grocer.

To uncover where and how people are shopping for groceries right now, Progressive Grocer recently teamed up with YouGov on an exclusive poll of consumers around the country. The survey of 1,163 Americans tapped into topics such as the effects of stubborn inflation, the use of e-commerce and perceptions about product availability.

First thing’s first: Supermarkets continue to be the dominant choice for groceries. According to YouGov’s findings, 67% of respondents currently buy groceries from traditional grocery stores. Behind that channel, 41% of those surveyed said they shop for groceries at mass retailers, while 30% visit dollar stores/discount stores, 21% order from online shopping websites and 15% venture to specialty stores. (Respondents could select all channels that applied to them.)

The thorn in the business side that is inflation hasn’t put as much a crimp in those visits as one might think. When asked if they have changed where they shop for groceries in the past year, a solid two-thirds (63%) said no. Those numbers varied a bit by demographic, with 51% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 saying they have not switched their location preferences, compared to 62% between ages 35 and 54 and 73% of those over 55.

Still, consistently-elevated prices are causing some changes in grocery shopping behavior, YouGov’s data reveals. Nearly three-fourths (71%) of respondents said inflation has “moderately” or “significantly” changed the way they shop over the past 12 months. An even 50% reported their grocery spending has increased, versus 35% who said it has stayed about the same and 15% who indicated that it decreased.

For those looking to rein in grocery spending, they are changing gears in some ways. Even if most shoppers remain loyal to the traditional grocery channel, more than half (53%) answered that they are shopping at stores with lower prices. In fact, when asked to cite the most important factors when selecting a grocery store, a majority of 67% called out price, followed by product quality (47%), store location (42%), product variety (28%), store cleanliness (23%), loyalty/rewards programs (19%) and customer service (17%.) Only 9% cited the availability of delivery.  

In light of market conditions, choices within the store are shifting, too. Nearly two-thirds (32%) say they are buying more bulk items, while 31% are buying less meat or switching to different cuts or product types, 30% are purchasing fewer prepared foods and 28% are opting for private label products.

YouGov’s survey for Progressive Grocer was conducted between May 19-22. This is the first in a series of articles on the results of the shopper poll.

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