For Private Label, The Shopping List is the Thing

September 13, 2010
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Most consumers today use a mix of branded and private label products, and nearly five percent say they bought private label exclusively in 2009, a 19 percent increase from the previous year, says The NPD Group, Chicago, a market research company.
In addition, as a result of the recession, the company’s research finds more consumers using coupons, stocking up with what’s on sale, and searching for less expensive items.

Now it turns out more Americans are engaging in another thrifty behavior: the use of shopping lists.

Before entering a grocery store, most U.S. household heads have already made the majority of their purchasing decisions, and rarely buy on impulse. An NPD food and beverage market report finds 94 percent of U.S. households prepare a written shopping list prior to grocery shopping, and 72 percent of shoppers never, or only occasionally, buy items not on the list.
The NPD report, “Before the Store,” takes a holistic view of the grocery shopper – from meal preparation to eating behavior, menu planning and shopping. It finds that in most households one person is responsible for food and beverage shopping and meal preparation – and most of the time that person is a woman.
On the other hand, grocery list preparation appears to be a family affair. Sixty percent of married and family households report contributions from other family members. Among younger households, a spouse is more likely to contribute when kids are not present; whereas children provide input to the shopping list in nearly 40 percent of family households.
With 34.5 percent of adult consumers telling NPD they buy private label food and beverage more often than just 12 months ago, it’s important that private-label retailers and manufacturers work harder to make their products memorable, not just for the shopping and meal preparation maven, but for her fellow list-makers as well.
“For food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, it’s all about getting on the list,” says Ann Hanson, executive director of product development and author of the report. “With so many purchasing decisions being made at home where meals are being planned and shopping lists assembled, it’s important to focus on the consumer at home before they leave for the store.”
While most shoppers don’t purchase unplanned items while in the store, approximately one in four are more impulse driven while grocery shopping. The top reasons for an impulse purchase are: saw it on promotion (80 percent) saw it in the store and remembered it was needed (67 percent), and looked like a good meal or snack solution (37 percent).

“While most grocery shoppers shop for their food items around once a week, consumers decide what to eat, drink, or serve many times a day,” says Ann Hanson, director of product development and author of the study. “It’s these daily activities, and the needs behind them, that drive their purchase decisions.”

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