Published on: February 8, 2013by Phil Lempert
On Tuesday February 12 at 1:15pm, I’ll have the pleasure of releasing the findings of this year’s benchmarked survey from the National Grocers Association (NGA) and SupermarketGuru.. While there is no doubt that we have experienced much change in both the supply chain and consumer behavior during the past twelve months – the findings of the survey is designed to help and empower the Independent Grocer to navigate through the critical issues.
There’s encouraging news:
• Primary supermarkets earn more satisfaction scores of 8, 9 and 10 (on a scale of 10 where 10 is excellent) this year, up 5.4 points to 71.5%, as African-Americans and seniors 65+ dispense the most 10s.
• Independents may well benefit from less focus on price when consumers choose a primary grocer. Low prices alone won’t pull in shoppers seeking diverse appeals in a store. Low prices don’t even crack the Top 10 list of important store features: just 41.7% call it “very important”; this is well below the 51.0% peak in 2009 and 2010 and the 44.0% in 2011, though up a bit from 39.5% in 2012. The lowest-income households, the lightest grocery spenders, and minorities lead those who view low prices as “very important."
• A related sign that price matters less than other enduring appeals: for the first time in recent memory, less than half of consumers (49.1%) say items on sale/money-saving specials are “very important.” Down steadily from 60.0% in 2010, the two lowest income groups drive this measure.
So what should independents emphasize to align more effectively with consumers in 2013? Survey findings suggest focusing on healthy/fresh/local expertise and assortments to help people eat smarter, cooking insights to raise consumer confidence in the kitchen, easy store layouts and speedy checkouts.
The availability of nutritionists and dietitians could build momentum for supermarkets in this emerging area. New questions in this year’s survey explore the connection between consumers, grocers and these food-health professionals. Notably, nutritionists/dietitians trail only physicians and the Internet as the most trusted information sources—that’s more than traditional media, ratings systems on packages, and other choices.
As in past years, our panel of industry leaders will dissect and add their insights to the survey findings: Mark Batenic, Chief Executive Officer, IGA, Inc.; Jeffrey Brown, President and CEO, Brown’s Super Stores, Inc.; Alex Siskos, Vice President, Business Insights, CROSSMARK; and Art Potash, Chief Executive Officer, Potash Market, will join me on stage.
More than 2200 chief household shoppers completed surveys that detailed their experiences, behaviors and sentiments on what does or doesn’t appeal to them about supermarkets, as well as their purchase influences, eating habits and nutritional concerns. A total of 104 shopping attributes are addressed in this year’s survey.
To tell a complete story, when analyzing findings from this comprehensive national consumer study, the National Grocers Association and SupermarketGuru dug deep to show differences in demographics and lifestyles. For instance, we looked at differences between the nation’s heaviest weekly grocery spenders and the lightest. We also examined age, ethnicity, gender (since more males food-shop today), household size and household income.
In 2013, consumers will see supermarkets either as part of the problem or part of the solution to help them live better. Questions they ask, as they assess where they shop, will connect food with their lifestyles and focus less on price creating a special opportunity for independent supermarkets, which may lack scale to compete fiercely on price, but have many elements in place consumers covet.
To dig deeper into the survey results and gain actionable information, context and strategic recommendations, be sure to join us at Tuesday’s General Session. To purchase a copy of the survey after Tuesday’s release, please click here.
- KC's View:
If you're attending NGA in Las Vegas, I hope you'll also stop by the workshop session that I'll be moderating on Tuesday afternoon, february 12, from 3:45 to 4:45 pm, featuring a panel discussion with three of the winners of NGA's Creative Choice awards. We're going to talk not just about their winning programs, but also about the nature of an effective promotion in 2013 and beyond...
If you're there, I hope you'll come by and say hello.