What’s driving the uptick in at-the-shelf purchase decisions?

Analysis

What’s driving the uptick in at-the-shelf purchase decisions?

Diminishing brand loyalty has accompanied an increase in impulse and at-the-shelf purchase decisions. Less expensive store brands threaten national brands in part due to lingering price-sensitivity brought on by the Great Recession. For the past five years, Deloitte has published the American pantry study, looking at consumer attitudes and purchasing behaviors for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. The data gathered offer insights for companies looking to evolve their brand, pricing, promotion, and channel strategies. The American pantry study unlocks what happens during the shopping process in order to inform ways in which companies can win a greater share of in-store purchase decisions.

More consumers believe we’re out of the recession

A key insight from this year’s study is the improved consumer outlook on the state of the US economy. The number of consumers in the study who think we are still in a recession fell dramatically to 58 percent in 2015, down from 91 percent in 2011. The more optimistic economic outlook is likely one reason for the uptick measured in unplanned purchase decisions in categories where needs are not being met, as shoppers become more open to trying different products. We found that more than half of the category shoppers surveyed made decisions at the shelf, and that these decisions accounted for 34 percent of all the units purchased by them—an increase of 5 percent from 2014 (up from 29 percent).

Many factors influence at-the-shelf purchase decisions

At-the-shelf purchases include instances where purchase decisions about the product category or the brand are made (or prior decisions are changed) at the retail store. There are a number of factors that influence these decisions. Demographics such as age and income are significant factors, but trip type, mood state during shopping, and consumption intent also affect these decisions. Of course, some categories such as chocolate, candy, and frozen pizza stimulate higher at-the-shelf purchases than other categories.

Are purchase decisions emotional or practical?

In general, consumers choose generic or store brands for practical reasons such as price, familiarity, and availability. However, they tend to choose national brands for emotional reasons, such as love and trust. In light of this, companies should take time to step back and challenge the status quo, rather than continually resort to discounts and promotions. Understanding consumers’ state of mind while in-store can target shoppers by trip mission and functional needs to influence at-the-shelf decisions. While doing so, companies should also take into account the rising influence of technology along the path to purchase. Websites, social media, and mobile apps influence consumers’ product research, price comparison, product purchase, and brand interactions.

For more in-depth insights into what influences consumer purchasing decisions, see Deloitte’s American pantry study 2015.

Published on September 7, 2015.

2015 American pantry study

Take a look at some of the factors influencing decisions in the infographic below. How might your strategies change in the year ahead based on these trends?

The American pantry study unlocks what happens during the shopping process in order to inform ways in which companies can win a greater share of in-store purchase decisions.

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