Beverage News / Channel Strategies

Study reveals changes in grocery store shoppers

Consumers more frequently shopping at multiple stores

June 12, 2014
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Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Arlington, Va., released its annual “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends” study in collaboration with the Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash. The results of the study were presented by FMI President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin at FMI Connect on June 11 in Chicago. The new study reveals changes in the consumer universe that have impacted the way grocery retailers do business.

In particular, the study notes that supermarkets have returned to a 54 percent level of channel share with supercenters down to 22 percent and each of the other categories, including discount and specialty retailers, down 1 percent from the positions held the year before.

“Clearly, the traditional supermarket picked up a few points in all that movement, but what is most interesting is the leap in the number of people who claim they have no primary store,” Sarasin said in a statement. “When FMI first started listing this option in 2011, only 2 percent said they had no primary store. This year, 9 percent claim no primary store.”

This means that the number of shoppers who frequent multiple stores has more than quadrupled since 2011.

This study identifies important shifts in the way Americans are shopping, including not only an increasing reliance on multiple stores but also an increasing fragmentation of shopping responsibilities within the American household, noted Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer of the Hartman Group.

“Drawing upon ethnographic research into U.S. food consumption, we found that the convenient, formerly helpful idea of a 'primary shopper' — a single adult responsible for, and at least knowledgeable about, a household's grocery purchases — no longer does justice to how American households manage their food purchases today,” she said in a statement.

“U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2014” identifies and explores five major trends:

  1. Diversification of the “primary store” as a touchstone of shopper behavior;
  2. Fragmentation of the “primary shopper” role within households;
  3. Generational transformation in what “planning” means to food shoppers;
  4. Re-orientation of consumer attitudes around wellness, with fresh, less-processed options taking a center stage; and 
  5. Opening for food retailers to become trusted allies in helping shoppers navigate food and wellness.

For a copy of the report, visit A code for a free download of the report is available in the FMI Connect directory.

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