Nielsen Study Reveals Four Shopping Modes

A Nielsen study of food shopping behaviors revealed that consumers adopt one of four shopping modes when perusing supermarket aisles: Autopilot, variety-seeking, buzz, and bargain-hunting patterns were identified during Nielsen’s 30-category analysis.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — A Nielsen study of food shopping behaviors revealed that consumers adopt one of four shopping modes when perusing supermarket aisles: Autopilot, variety-seeking, buzz, and bargain-hunting patterns were identified during Nielsen’s 30-category analysis. Coffee, cereal and mayonnaise are usually purchased in autopilot mode, according to its findings. Purchases in these categories tend to be driven by brand choice and made by consumers who often aren’t willing to try anything new. Shoppers in variety-seeking mode, on the other hand, are on the lookout for product innovations. Cookies, salad dressings, chewing gum and frozen dinners usually evoke this kind of behavior. Energy drinks, sports drinks, chocolate and ready-to-drink teas fall into the buzz-activated category, where shoppers are more likely to be influenced by catchy advertising and new-product introductions. Meanwhile sales in bargain-hunted categories, including canned tuna, canned fruit and pasta sauce, are driven by price comparison and promotions. “The key to reaching shoppers lies in understanding that shoppers’ habitual mode can be disrupted by external stimuli such as advertising, buzz, new offers, price and promotions,” said Manjima Khandelwal, senior vice president, Nielsen Customized Research, in a statement. “Marketers can leverage this brief window of opportunity to trigger change by understanding which hot buttons to push.”

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