New Consumer Study Reveals Channel Shifts, Increased Shopping Trips

While analysts reported a decrease in shopping trips in 2009 based on the economic crisis and consumers’ shifting toward bulk purchases and private label selection, new research from WSL Strategic Retail illustrates a new shift in shopping patterns.

Wendy Liebmann, CEO of New York-based WSL Strategic Retail, said: “Shoppers are trying to live within their budgets, which means not stocking up because they cannot afford to pay for it. Less stocking up means more trips to more stores to find the best sales and lowest prices.”

Liebmann made the remark this week upon the release of her firm’s How America Shops MegaTrends Study, “The Odyssey Begins to the New Retail World.”

“The new smart, thrifty shopper is making more stops to more stores,” said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, adding, “And if she isn’t traveling, she is clicking. The Internet is redefining channel choices and significantly impacting every other retail channel.”

Among the findings of WSL Strategic Retail How America Shops 2010 MegaTrends Study are:

—Mass merchandisers/supercenters and supermarkets are still the top two channels shopped in three months. In 2008, supermarkets had begun to retain their position against the mighty supercenter. They have now solidified it during the recession, as more women shop for ingredients to prepare food instead of buying takeout, and avoid the mass merchandiser, where they can be tempted to overspend on the wide array of everything beyond food
—Deep-discount grocery stores like Aldi and Sav-a-Lot attract 15 percent of lower-income households in three months — and that’s with limited distribution.
—Almost 70 percent of Walmart’s core shoppers, those with household incomes under $40,000, are in the dollar channel in three months; a quarter are there every week, which is up vs. 2008. “Supermarkets and mass merchandisers are challenged by deep-discount grocery stores like Aldi, dollar stores and online in the new retail world,” Liebmann explained
—Online shopping has taken a big leap forward. Once all about convenience and selection, the Internet has become the go-to channel to find the lowest prices and coupons. On a weekly basis, 24 percent of women now shop Online (up 14 percentage points since 2008). That makes the Internet No. 3 behind mass merchandisers and supermarkets (both at 64 percent) weekly
—Bricks-and-clicks retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco and drug chains have 7 percent or fewer of their shoppers buying from their online sites on a three-month basis. In the same three-month period, 57 percent of online shoppers shopped

The study is based on a national online survey of over 1,950 men and women. WSL Strategic Retail, which this year marks 23 years in business, launched its How America Shops studies in 1989 to chart the evolution of American consumer shopping habits and attitudes. For more information, visit

SOURCE: The Gourmet Retailer
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