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biginsightgrocery585.jpgGrocers and consumer-packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers are still figuring out how to navigate the post-recession economy, but consumers have it down: They are finding any way they can to maximize their monthly spend, according to new research sponsored by MaxPoint Interactive and conducted by BIGInsight.

Surprisingly, the average monthly spend on groceries has steadily increased among the general population from pre- to post recession. As the report (entitled, “Reaching Today’s Cost-Conscious Consumer”) reveals, the average monthly spend on groceries has steadily increased among the general population from pre- to post-recession.While spending continues to climb, nearly three in four respondents have made changes to their grocery shopping habits within the last year, becoming more cost-conscious before and during their trips.

“Due to the economy, consumers are shifting their shopping behaviors to get more for their money,” said Dianne Kremer, Senior Analyst at BIGinsight. “As consumers feel a pinch from rising gas and food prices, they are becoming more creative with how they spend their grocery budgets – shopping closer to home, going to multiple stores to get the best deals and looking online for coupons and offers.”

Some of the ways cost-conscious grocery shoppers in the U.S. have changed their behavior include:

  • Shopping closer to home and shopping multiple grocery stores. More than 40% of mothers responsible for grocery shopping (whom the report calls “Moms”) and those in the 25-54 age group indicate that in the past year they have started shopping multiple grocery stores to get the best prices and deals.
  • Leveraging coupons and sales. Close to half of all respondents and 50.4% of Moms said they clip coupons and scan their loyalty cards regularly for savings. On average, 26% of respondents use some form of digital coupons. Mothers are most likely to use digital coupons, with nearly a third (30.1%) using digital methods to find coupons. Three in four respondents said they are more likely to try a new product at the grocery store if they have a coupon for it.
  • Preparing lists before shopping. Sixty-two percent (62%) of respondents regularly make lists before going grocery shopping and more than half make their lists using general product categories, rather than specific brands. Three in five decide which brand to purchase while they are in the store based on price, coupons and special promotions.
  • Using more resources (such as digital channels) to prepare for shopping trips. More than 90% of shoppers regularly research products online before purchasing them in-store. Moms and those in the 25-54 age group are more likely than Adults 18+ to use the Internet to prepare for grocery shopping trips.
  • Heading to recipe-specific destination sites to prepare for shopping. Moms are also the most likely group of respondents to use digital methods to find recipes when preparing for a trip to the grocery store.

“Digital is reshaping the grocery shopping experience in the post-recession economy, as consumers turn to new channels to help plan their shopping trips,” said Gretchen Joyce, chief operating officer at MaxPoint Interactive. “By understanding what motivates today’s consumer, brands can tailor their shopper marketing strategies to ensure they are gaining mindshare and winning at the shelf-level.”

Other key findings:

  • Average monthly spend on groceries has steadily increased among the general population from pre- to post-recession from $250.94 in August 2007 to $277.00 in August 2011. Among moms, it has steadily increased from $311.95 to $341.14 during the same timeframe.
  • Two in five respondents indicate they are purchasing more store brand or generic items now than compared with this time last year. 53.4% are purchasing the same amount.
  • Three in 10 respondents have cut back on purchasing bakery items, candy, dessert items and magazines/books/DVDs over the past year. One in four have cut back on prime cuts of meat/seafood.

About the Data: Derived from the BIGinsight? Monthly Consumer Survey, February 2007 through February 2012 (Average N = 8,500), the Media Behaviors & Influence? Study, December 2011 (N = 24,578) and the MaxPoint Interactive Cost Conscious Grocery Shopper Survey, March 2012 (N = 1,006). Respondents to the MaxPoint survey were adults 18+ who act as the primary grocery shopper for their households and purchase groceries in a physical store rather than online.

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