Sunday, March 08, 2009

New study questions in-store shopping decisions

Tradition says that 70% of shopping decisions are made in the store. I've heard that figure quoted so often that it seems to be almost an article of faith. From time to time, I've seen it questioned, but nobody questions that a great many decisions are made in-store.

An IRI study, though, says that a result of the recession may be that more consumers are planning out their shopping at home.
... IRI's research found that by the end of last year, more than three-quarters -- 76% -- of consumers were making their purchase decisions at home, up from 60% in the first quarter.
Just because people put together a shopping list at home, of course, does not mean that they follow it when they get to the store and see something they want. It does make sense, however, that people are more cautious in a recession, and will likely make fewer impulse purchases.

But the other point about this is that the article is entitled "Trouble in Store for Shopper Marketing?", with its theme being that if in-store marketing is likely to impact fewer buying decisions, then money should be pulled out of Shopper Marketing.

But that gets us back once again to the question we asked here a couple weeks ago: What is Shopper Marketing? In a poll we ran on the TPMA newsletter, we found that 71% believe it to be a hybrid of trade promo and brand-building. The Ad Age article seems to assume that it is strictly trade promo and that, therefore, if it does not produce immediate sales, it should be dumped.

For those making strictly trade promo decisions, it's worth noting the IRI study, and perhaps moving some promotions to formats where they reach the consumer at home (e.g., inserts or coupons). But Shopper Marketing decisions would be less impacted by the study.

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