REPORT: MAGAZINE PURCHASERS SPEND BIG

DALLAS -- Supermarket shoppers who buy magazines tend to spend more on groceries and also tend to shop more high-margin departments, according to a study unveiled here at the Magazine Publishers of America's Retail Conference & Expo last month."Across the board, they are really a much more involved shopper, shopping all of the departments within the store," said Dan Burke, vice president, information

DALLAS -- Supermarket shoppers who buy magazines tend to spend more on groceries and also tend to shop more high-margin departments, according to a study unveiled here at the Magazine Publishers of America's Retail Conference & Expo last month.

"Across the board, they are really a much more involved shopper, shopping all of the departments within the store," said Dan Burke, vice president, information management, Management Science Associates, Pittsburgh.

MSA analyzed loyalty-card data from January through December 2001 from 10 supermarkets in a Midwestern chain. The study included data from about 600,000 households, about 139,000 of which purchased magazines during the year.

Although they only represented 23% of shoppers, magazine buyers accounted for almost 60% of total retail grocery dollars spent during the year. Their average grocery basket was 74% higher and included 10 more items.

One general merchandise category manager who attended the presentation, who asked not to be identified, said it made sense that customers who purchased magazines in the store did so as part of a larger "one-stop-shopping" excursion.

The "home, women and family" magazine category, which was the most popular group of titles -- accounting for about 25% of all magazines sold -- was slightly more likely to be purchased at the front end than in line, according to the report. Business news magazines and tabloids were much more likely to be purchased at the front end, while science and technology titles, men's magazines, and sports and fitness titles were more likely to be purchased in line.

The study also revealed that customers who buy certain magazines were more likely to purchase products from certain other departments. There was an extremely high degree of correlation, for example, between buyers of video products and buyers of almost all types of magazines.

Another interesting correlation was observed between purchasers of food magazines and patrons of the floral department.

"These are people who are obviously doing a lot of entertaining," observed Burke, who suggested that food magazines be merchandised in the floral department.

Purchasers of tabloid magazines were far more likely to buy products from the bakery, buy prepared foods and buy tobacco products.

Customers who purchased products from the pharmacy were more likely to buy business news magazines, titles for kids or teens, and food magazines.