Sunday, September 2, 2007

The 4 Modes of Shopping

Via Effect Measure at Science Blogs, we spotted this Nielsen Shopper Modality Study on supermarket shopping habits. Basically, the researchers schematized the way people shopped into four modes, each of which are associated with a certain group of products. A summary table:

Shopping Mode

Products Associated

Brand Entrenchment*


Coffee, hot cereal, cheese, margarine, bottled water, mayo, nuts, popcorn, sodas, cold cuts



Cookies, salad dressings, chewing gum, salty snacks, breakfast bars, frozen desserts, candy, frozen dinners



Ready-to-drink teas, smoothies, sports drinks, energy drinks, chocolate


Bargain Hunting

Tuna, canned tomatoes, canned fruit, pasta sauce


*A ConsumersConspicuous judgment based solely on this study

Of course, Nielsen is a company that thrives on advertising and our patented Hidden Agenda Sensor went off when we read this:

The Nielsen Shopper Modality Study also revealed that some categories are often over-promoted, since manufacturers continually offer in-store deals and promotions even though some product categories are not bargain-driven.

"Consumers choosing sports drinks aren't looking for a bargain. In-store deals for these products go largely unnoticed. Marketers would be better off redirecting their wasted promo dollars to investing in advertising and new product introductions," said Khandelwal.

That is to say, don’t pass money on to retailers/consumers, spend it on advertising that Nielsen can make money measuring. Still, it’s a worthwhile lens to have at your disposal when looking at the mass supermarket experience.

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