Grocery shoppers become ‘Digital Infoseekers’ to save money as costs rise

Sep 25, 2017 | CPG, FMCG digital marketing food and beverages

Smartphones are helping shoppers to find information on promotions and offers that will help them reduce the cost of their grocery shop, according to new research.

The survey, from big data and technology firm IRI, interviewed shoppers in seven European countries.

Key findings:

  • 1 in 3 shoppers uses the Internet to seek information before shopping
  • Smartphones assist half of digital infoseekers with in-store savings
  • 80% of shoppers prepare a shopping list and 1 in 10 do this on their phone

The survey, from big data and technology firm IRI, interviewed shoppers in seven European countries.

It found that more than one third of shoppers (31% in the UK compared to 34% in Europe) are using a mobile application to find information online every time they shop. 31% of shoppers (36% in Europe) ‘infoseek’ before they shop and 31% (36% in Europe) do this while they shop. More than half of those information seeking shoppers (53%) claim they are saving money with their efforts.

The majority of shoppers are looking for deals on higher price items such as make-up and laundry products which can provide them with more discount per item.

Unsurprisingly Southern Europeans facing more severe economic pressure are more active infoseekers, with 45% of Greeks, 39% of Spanish and 33% of Italians regularly using the internet to seek information before shopping. Germans are also very prudent (37% are infoseekers). This compares to 26% in Holland and 31% in the UK and France seeking information to save money.

While 27% of Infoseekers (37% in Europe) are looking to save money with in-store promotions and offers, 23% of shoppers (22% in Europe) are looking for information on which store has the best deals that day/week. A further 36% of shoppers (38% in Europe) are searching for product ingredients and usage.

Livio Martucci, Director at IRI and analyst of the survey says: “There is clear evidence that shoppers are carefully planning what they buy to save money as well as ensure that they are buying the healthier food options that they desire. Increased demand for healthier food options such as vegan or gluten free and concern about food provenance is clearly of key importance for Infoseekers. Further, they may also be looking to reduce waste for cost and environmental issues.”

Most British shoppers are preparing a list (80% compared to 84% across Europe) to help them find savings with 1 in 10 using their smartphone. The majority (66%) say they check what they need at home while preparing a list, with just 7% reading in-store leaflets (compared to 35 in Europe). British shoppers are more impulsive with 18% doing nothing to prepare their grocery shopping (compared to 11% in Europe). Greeks are the most avid list makers (93% of all shoppers make a list in Greece). The French are more likely to use pen and paper (65% compared to an average of 55% across Europe), while British and Greek shoppers keep it all in their heads (23% and 25% respectively compared to an average in Europe of 18%). 10% of shoppers across Europe write their list on a digital device.

The increasing use of mobile devices in-store provides opportunities for FMCG marketers to connect to shoppers. Of the third of British shoppers (31% compared to 36% in Europe) who use their smartphones in store, 17% are looking for promotions, 10% are searching for information about and 10% are using digital coupons.

“The survey also provides guidance for FMCG marketers on when best to communicate offers with shoppers,” adds Martucci. “There is clearly an opportunity for them to use mobile advertising and promotions while shoppers are in list prepping mode as well as when they are in store.”

British shoppers are both the most and least likely to shop online with 11% saying they will buy online within the next six months compared to 6% of Europeans and 41% saying they definitely will not (compared to 27% of Europeans). More than 54% (compared 53% European shoppers) still prefer to see and touch products in store rather than shop online. One in four shoppers (28% in Europe) believe that it is easier to compare prices in store as well.

Livio Martucci said: “Shoppers are saying that they still prefer to be in store to see and touch products. There is a big opportunity for retailers to improve the physical experience in store and help shoppers to locate the best offers. Further, online retailers might consider making changes that make it easier for Internet users to compare prices, find promotions and new product launches.”

IRI will make available the full results of its survey – including multichannel shopping and food wellness across Europe – on 2nd October.

About the survey

IRI interviewed 2,600 shoppers in Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, France, the UK and Holland about how the digital experience is changing grocery shopping.

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