Shopping Behaviors May Transcend Demographics: Study

Research by CPG company Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc. indicates that the demographic traits in common usage by retailers and brand marketers aren’t accurate predictors of shopping behavior.

The study, “The Shoppers’ Perspective,” uncovered three distinct and enduring behavioral styles that defy characterization by the more traditional evaluative criteria of income level, age of household or size of household. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Henkel is spearheading shopping insights for over 300 categories and 200-plus customers.

“Our findings suggest an alternative basis for retailer marketing and merchandising that may offer significant advantages,” noted Mack Hoopes, manager, consumer insights. “They challenge our assumptions about the relative value of certain shopper segments.”

The study analyzed three years of data from multiple retail channels, covering 300 food and nonfood categories usually carried in supermarkets. The information was collected from the IRI Consumer Network Panel and other sources.

The behavioral styles identified were as follows:

--Shoptimizers are most likely to be influenced in their choices by pre-shopping stimuli such as circulars and coupons. This group accounts for nearly 100 percent of coupon usage

--Mainstreeters do much less pre-planning and rarely save coupons, so their store choices are more likely to be influenced by location, convenience and price reputation. This group is highly sensitive to in store messaging and promotions

--Carefrees eschew pre-planning, and once inside the store, tend to ignore prices and promotions and just buy what they like

“Members of each group select stores based on their trust that they will deliver what they value in a shopping trip,” added Hoopes. “We believe we have identified some foundational elements of pre-planning and reinforced a fundamental truth for all shoppers -- if they trust you they shop you.”

For instance, the results suggest some retailers may unwisely label highly motivated Shoptimizers as less desirable because they take greater advantage of deals and coupons, while these shoppers actually shop more frequently and index higher on total spending.

The study concludes that retailers need to know which segments they want to market to, and make their positions clear.

“The Shoppers’ Perspective” is one core component of an overall innovative strategic approach to the Dial Corp.’s WIS (Winning In Store) strategy, which combines the previous disparate disciplines of category management, in-store merchandising, shopper marketing and research into one seamless WIS team, which offers sales and customers research-based insights and programming designed to deliver a wide range of category-based solutions. Dial is a division of Henkel.

Additional research, yielding further insights, will be released in the coming months. For more information, visit
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds