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Exclusives: Consumer Survey

Paper is Out, Mobile is In

Consumer Science survey shows private label products would benefit from retailer apps.

July 3, 2013
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Shopping apps are likely to have a more significant effect on private label purchasing habits than national brands, with respondents wanting to understand quality

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Private label products retailer apps

and nutritional comparisons as well as price, according to a new survey conducted exclusively for PLBuyer by Consumer Science.

The data showed a higher percentage of respondents indicated that a shopping app could have a significant effect on their private label purchasing habits (49 percent) than on their national brand purchasing habits (41 percent), which makes sense as private labels do not have the same promotion benefits that national brands have.

The data comes from a 400-member U.S. online panel surveyed by Consumer Science, a Dallas/Ft. Worth-based consumer research firm.

Some respondents wanted to see how the private labels compared with national brands for quality and nutrition as well as price.

As a cautionary note, some respondents stressed the importance of making apps easy to use and not unecessarily extending the shopping trip.

Smartphone penetration is rapidly growing, and developing shopping apps should be in the forfront of retailers’ minds. Overall, U.S. smartphone penetration stands at 58 percent of mobile subscribers ages 13 and above. That’s up from 54 percent at the end of 2012 according to Business Insider.

Several sources indicate that mobile internet usage is set to surpass desktop internet usage in the next year or two.

It would seem that in general shoppers find generic apps more useful than specific grocery store apps providing an opportunity for retailers to enhance their app offerings.

The survey of smartphone users showed that a third had downloaded a grocery store’s specific application such as Kroger, Safeway, Publix and Whole Foods, while 32 percent of these reported using these apps frequently (once a week or more).

Unsurprisingly, frequent shoppers and those with household incomes above $50,000 have a significantly higher frequency of use of these apps.

A third downloaded other shopping apps such as Grocery IQ, Shopping List and Fooducate, and used them more frequently (50 percent reporting they used them once a week or more).

The need for retailers to focus on developing a grocery app is no longer a goal for the future.  Apps already have eclipsed the use of traditional paper coupons for

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Private label products retailer apps

smartphone users, according to the survey. Paper coupon usage was reported lower than both of these with 21 percent frequent use (once a week or more).

Not suprisingly, people who spent more than 30 minutes shopping were significantly more likely to use apps and paper coupons more frequently.

When survey respondents were asked to indicate how useful they would find various grocery shopping app features, it was found the top three ranked features – electronic coupons, sale or price increase alerts, and price comparison to competitor stores – all revolve around getting the best price for products.

Respondents with household incomes of more than $50,000 were significantly more likely to prefer that an app make suggestions for a private label product when a national brand is scanned. They also were more likely to prefer being able to checkout through the smartphone (no standing in line) and get price comparisons with competitor stores.

Respondents who spent longer than 30 minutes shopping were significantly more likely to prefer the features of electronic coupons, price compasrisons with competitor stores, customer reviews, and recipe suggestions.

Being able to acess store loyalty programs through an app was found to be the fourth-most important feature, indicating that moves from retailers to mobilize their loyalty cards is important, such as Walgreens did last September with the launch of its Balance Rewards Program, which includes mobile rewards card access.


Consumer Science specializes in primary consumer research.  It utilizes a broad range of techniques and technology to customize research that delivers each customer the most value.

A qualified staff of researchers and moderators provide turnkey research, including study design, respondent recruitment and customized analysis and reporting. The offerings, combining traditional interviewing techniques and the latest technology, include intercepts, one-on-one, dyads, triads, focus groups, large sensory panels, in-home test, surveys, social media monitoring, video analytics and Web analytics.

 www.mmiconsumerscience.com

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