Newspapers Still Important for Comparison Shopping

November 11, 2011

comscore-price-comparison.jpgA substantial number of female consumers in the US use newspapers to seek out best prices when shopping, according to a comScore white paper released in November 2011. Data from “The Effects of the Recession on Brand Loyalty and ‘Buy Down’ Behavior: 2011 Update” indicates that of the female shoppers surveyed, 58% of seniors (age 60+) use newspapers for price comparisons, while 47% of “Baby Boomers” (age 45-59) and 41% of “Gen X” adults (age 30-44) also turn to this channel. By comparison, just 1 in 10 Gen X adults use mobile phones to seek out best prices. Similarly, a smaller proportion of “Millennials” (aged under 30) use mobiles than do newspapers (15% vs. 25%) for this purpose.

Online Most Popular Channel

Fixed internet was found to be the most popular method of seeking best prices for every generation except seniors, with a clear linear trend along age lines. 63% of? millennials went online to compare prices, followed closely by 60% of Gen X adults, and 57% of Baby Boomers. Although online search was less popular among seniors, 1 in 2 reported using this method. The popularity of the online channel may be attributable to its ease: according to July data from Invesp, 59% of consumers who prefer shopping online do so because it is easy to compare prices, making it the third-most popular reason for online shopping.

Meanwhile, other offline channels remain relatively widespread for price comparisons. According to comScore’s report, 41% of the millennials and 38% of the Gen X adults surveyed reported shopping store-to-store to find the best price, while more than 1 in 10 respondents of every generation turned to magazines about products.

Desired Brand Purchases Continue Fall

Just 43% of respondents to the 2011 study report buying the brand they “want most.” This represents a relatively insignificant drop from 2010 (45%), but is more substantial when compared to 2008, when more than half of consumers purchased their most-desired brands.

OTC, Soup Feel Buy Down Effects

Among the various market segments studied, OTC products (cough/cold/allergy) have experienced the most notable shift in buying behavior from 2008: this year, just 41% of consumers report buying the brand they most desire, representing a 29% decrease from 58% in 2008. Meanwhile, within all categories studied, soup experienced the largest year-over-year fall, dropping by 15% from 52% in 2010 to 44% this year.

About the Data: As with its previous annual studies on buy down behavior, comScore’s findings are based on a survey of 1,000 female shoppers. The 2011 study was fielded in July.

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