Shopping from dusk ’til dawn

Most people do their major grocery shopping once a week, with quality and price being the two most important factors affecting their choice of retailer

Six out of ten grocery shoppers regularly do their major grocery shopping once a week, with Friday being the most popular day. Research from the BMRB Target Group Index (TGI) reveals that 22 per cent of grocery shoppers buy most of their groceries on Fridays, followed by 17 per who buy the bulk of their groceries on Saturday. Perhaps not surprisingly Sunday is the quietest day of the week.

Three per cent of grocery shoppers claim to do a major grocery shop every day. At the other end of the scale, six per cent go once a month only. More than half of all grocery shoppers go to a supermarket in a high street or city centre to do their regular major shopping; slightly more than a third shop at an out-of-town supermarket; and only two per cent use an independent grocer.

When grocery shopping, different factors are important for shoppers in deciding where to go. The two winners are quality and price, with more than 70 per cent of grocery shoppers considering one of these among the most important. These are followed by locality, range of products, and parking. Those shoppers who own a car are over a fifth more likely than the average grocery shopper to cite parking as the most important factor when deciding where to shop. In addition, those in council accommodation are a third more likely than the average grocery shopper to see price as the most important factor. Regional variations are significant as well. Those in the North-west are 23 per cent more likely than average to consider price the most important factor, whereas those in London are 27 per cent less likely to place price first.

Broadening the definitions of this research to all adults and all shopping, at what time of day do adults generally go shopping? Between Monday and Thursday, people normally shop in two-hour blocks, with 10am to noon being the most popular time. This is the peak time for housewives and the elderly to do their grocery shopping. In fact, women are 20 per cent more likely to be shopping at this time, while adults aged 60 or over are twice as likely than the average shoppers to be doing so.

But what about full-time workers (30 or more hours a week) ? There is no day of the week when they are likely to be shopping. The most popular shopping time for them is between noon and 2pm, when seven per cent are in the shops – no surprises here of course, given that it is the time many full-time workers would be at lunch. According to BMRB, the tracking of these times could allow marketing and media planners to get their messages across, by reaching them with advertising shortly before they hit the shops.

On Saturdays full-time workers shop in force. Slightly more than a quarter are in the shops between 10am and noon, 18 per cent between noon and 2pm, 22 per cent between 2pm and 4pm, and 12 per cent between 4pm and 6pm. On Sunday these workers are also out shopping. For instance, they are almost 40 per cent more likely than the average person to be shopping between 10am and noon. Given that many full-time workers do their grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, advertisers should take steps to make the most of this.

As far as adults with children are concerned, their peak shopping time during the week is 10am to noon, when 13 per cent are shopping (making them 11 per cent less likely to do so than the average adult). On Saturdays, 10am to noon is the time when the highest number of shoppers with children (23 per cent) are grocery shopping. Adults with children are also almost a quarter more likely than the average adult to be shopping between 4pm and 6pm.

BMRB TGI says that between 8am and 10am on a Saturday morning, 16 per cent of shoppers with children in the household, who work full time, are listening to the radio, and another 19 per cent are watching television. At this time, only seven per cent are shopping. However, between 10am and noon almost a quarter are out at the shops – the highest proportion at any time of the day. BMRB TGI concludes that advertising on TV early on a Saturday morning could reap dividends by bringing a product to the front of this group’s mind as they get ready to hit the shops.

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