FMI Study Profiles Grocery App Users

As smart phones continue to play an integral role in shoppers' path to purchase, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Saint Joseph's University commissioned a joint study which profiles grocery app users in an effort to help retailers better tailor their marketing efforts.

Contradicting common assumptions, the study found that the more active a shopper is with social media, the less likely it is that the shopper will use a grocery retailer's app in-store. The study also revealed that shoppers with larger grocery expenditures were most active in using grocery apps.

“We segmented the users in order to help food retailers better tailor marketing of their respective apps,” said Nancy Childs, Ph.D., professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University. “We found that customers employing apps are also the heaviest shoppers.”

The study utilized IRI's DigitaLink data to identify consumers' use and attitudes toward grocery shopping apps, and segmented them into four major types of primary grocery shoppers.

Digital Enthusiasts – These shoppers are confident and active online grocery shoppers. They are young with large households and they embrace technology. Digital Enthusiasts are maturing shoppers looking for convenience and personalization. They are a shopper segment food retailers should focus on for app usage. As a digitally active segment, they represent the full opportunity for the Future.

Wired for Work – These shoppers are savvy grocery shoppers who actively use their smartphones. As a more affluent group, Wired for Work shoppers could easily embrace a grocery app if it is meaningfully convenient and personalized in a way that balanced their interests in price. They are a shopper segment food retailers should focus on for app usage, and can be considered a nascent opportunity identified as the Tomorrow segment.

Show Me The Money – These shoppers represent the more traditional grocery value segment and are seeking price. App functions that help them meet this need will appeal to them the most. These shoppers need a price incentive in order to utilize a grocery app, and as a segment, represent Price behavior using grocery shopping apps. 

Socializers – While these shoppers are active on social media and may even be engaging with brands on those channels, they are not currently using grocery apps or online shopping. Their social sophistication represents an opportunity for food retailers to connect with them by offering a customized grocery app. They are identified as an Opportunity segment in the study.

"The Digital Grocery Commerce: Insights for Enhancing Consumer Connection with Grocery Shopping Apps" study is available for purchase online.

Members of Arlington, Va.-based FMI operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion.

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