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Grocery buyers want shopper experiences and digital choice in $60 billion market

Melinda Oliver /

Australia’s 13 million grocery buyers want personalised shopping, digital convenience and expect a lot from the brands they choose, new research finds.

Mi9’s Modern Grocery Buyer report highlights that advertisers or retailers may be wise to review their approach to snaring shoppers if they want to succeed in the $60 billion sector.

It found that grocery buyers were once defined in stereotypes such as women aged 25-54, however there are much more complex psychographic and behavioural factors impacting behaviour and product selection.

The research found that a modern grocery buyer is “hyper-connected” and digitally savvy. It found that 75% own a smartphone while 50% have a tablet.

They were found to spend 20 hours a week online for personal use and 25 hours watching television.

Over half, 56%, of grocery shoppers are women aged 25 years or over, while 49% of grocery shoppers have children at home. It found that 73% are the sole grocery buyer.

Key emerging segments of grocery shoppers were ‘meal-to-meal shoppers’ – the consumers who visit grocery stores on a daily basis and purchase items to eat that day.

Another segment was those that ‘love in-store shopping experiences’, while the third new group were ‘passionately digital’. This group shop online, or research before they shop, to plan what they will buy.

Mi9 head of research and insights Gabbi Stubbs says the research demonstrates a “turning point in grocery shopping”.

“The line between the physical and digital retail environment continues to blur,” she said.

“Australian grocery buyers with mobile devices want more personalisation – it’s no longer just about rock bottom prices, but about providing consumers with an experience that’s right for them – such as deals targeted to their grocery buying habits, bespoke reminders for habitual purchases and more personalised and relevant product promotions to encourage loyalty.”

Key trends among grocery buyers showed that the modern grocery buyer is “hyper-connected” and their spending power is high.

Collectively grocery buyers who own a smartphone were found to spend more than $790 million a week. This compared to consumers without a smartphone who spend $356 million a week.

Another key trend was that traditional family ideals were still commonplace when it comes to food. It found that 60% of consumers are interested in cooking and food, 71% think it is very important to teach their children to cook, while 69% believe it is very important to have a family meal at home most nights.

The report found that grocery buyers have high expectations for the brands they purchase, while 48% engage in ‘top up shops’, 52% are spending more than in the past and 62% do a large weekly shop. It found 31% of grocery buyers are impulse shoppers.

Stubbs says that to tap into the needs of modern grocery buyers, it is important to get personal.

“Retailers and brands can leverage digital both in-home (list-making apps) and in-store (suggestions of products to consider based on what’s in their cart) to bring more personalisation into the shopping experience,” she says.

“Find ways, digitally, to link the catalogue, list making, rewards and known buying behaviour elements together.”

She says to make any promotions “contextually relevant and personal, so that consumers can combine, keep track and use them at the time.”

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