Recession Caused Consumers to Rethink Shopping Patterns: Report

The most recent Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) Times & Trends Report, “Channel Migration: The Blurring of Shopper Loyalty,” has unearthed several recession-spurred changes in consumer shopping patterns across departments, categories and consumer segments, such as a shift to supercenters by value-minded shoppers.

“When we studied channel migration last year, we uncovered sizeable share gains by supercenters across departments and income levels, since consumers were trying to stretch their dollars,” said Tom Blischok, consulting and innovation president at Chicago-based IRI. “While supercenters are continuing to do well, we are also finding that competing retail channels have really been turning up the heat. From new everyday low price programs to expanding prescription drug programs, retailers are racing to deliver against consumers’ rapidly changing needs and behaviors. This is certainly the time for both retailers and manufacturers to conduct frequent and granular consumer and market assessments and develop consumer-centric marketing strategies.”

Further, according to the report, now that the economy appears to be on the mend, shoppers are once more reassessing their shopping attitudes, behaviors and strategies. For instance, freed up by lower gas prices, three-quarters of consumers now shop at five or more channels. Another trend is more frequent shopping visits, although the rate of basket growth has moderated. Still, some channels have seen especially strong growth in per-trip expenditures. The average dollar sale per purchase at dollar stores, for instance, has increased 5 percent in the last year. Channels that don’t react quickly to evolving consumer attitudes and needs could lose significant business, the report warns.

“Even though shoppers are assessing their needs more rationally and are visiting a wide range of channels, they still view their purchases largely through price,” noted Blischok. “This mindset is not lost on CPG marketers. In fact, several grocery retailers are focusing on an everyday low price format. Because increases in hiring typically trail recovery after a recession, IRI forecasts that price will continue to be a principal driver in shoppers’ decision-making process after the recession ends.”

“Channel Migration: The Blurring of Shopper Loyalty” can be downloaded at
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