An insight into the current grocery habits of Australian consumers

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 25 seconds

Adapting to ever-changing shopper and consumer trends is vital for retailers but first, understanding some of the habits behind customers is necessary.

Shopper and consumer behaviours have altered throughout generations as different trends surface and influence how the industry responds to customer needs. Millennials lead fast-paced lives, families with young children are often busy as both parents are working and baby boomers retain more traditional habits. Do people write a list of items before they go to a supermarket? Are they more inclined to purchase through self checkouts or the traditional register? Do individuals prefer to bring their own shopping bags?

Having insight into how consumers plan and undertake their grocery shop, means that businesses can offer unique and valuable experiences to shoppers and consumers. Glow’s recent study around Australian shopping habits analyses these behaviours and how they differ across various customer segments.

Consumer attitude towards shopping lists

One of the most common grocery habits is the timeless shopping list. Writing down a list allows shoppers to plan ahead of time in order to save money and time. This holds true for baby boomers who are shown to be more structured and deliberate when shopping as 77% of survey respondents admit they are likely to use a shopping list for their main shop. Contrastingly, millennials are less planned in their approach. Their fluid lifestyles encourage flexibility rather than predictability (as seen in baby boomers), meaning millennials are shopping more often and most of them do not use stringent lists. What does this mean? If people are using a list, they may be less likely to buy on impulse. Other research shows that not only can this planning influence grocery expenditure, it can significantly reduce time spent in store as well.

Families with young children also tend to plan and have structured shopping experiences which should be no surprise given their busy schedules. However, parents who bring kids are likely to spend more money and time at the supermarket.

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Consumer behaviour when paying for their grocery

The introduction of the self-serve checkout has been considered as a blessing or a curse for some shoppers. Supermarkets introduced this innovation as a method to reduce costs and improve efficiency. While it can appeal to the younger, tech-minded generation, it can be a nuisance for their older counterparts. Overall, over 34% of respondents said they often go through the self-serve checkout. However, a generational difference exists. The majority of baby boomer respondents said they never or rarely go through the self-serve checkout. In comparison, millennials contrasted significantly with most selecting always or often going through self-serve over traditional checkouts.

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Consumer preference towards types of shopping bags

Over the last decade, there has been a social push for businesses to be more environmentally friendly. Supermarkets have adapted to this with the introduction of reusable bags. Survey data shows that the adoption is varied with 13.8% of millennials and 34.7% of baby boomers stating they always bring their own shopping bags with them.

This adoption is likely to accelerate with almost all states in Australia banning or planning to ban plastic shopping bags.

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What do these customer insights mean for retailers in the future?

As shopper trends continue to evolve and emerge, supermarket retailers strive to meet customers’ changing needs and understand their behaviours. Whether it’s understanding how shoppers plan or execute their grocery experience, attaining a deeper look into habits behind a customer can enable businesses to deliver value. With consumer trends and generational differences becoming more prominent, it is imperative for retailers to prepare for the changes that follow.  



This article is based on Glow’s free Australian Shopping Habits & Retail Sentiment 2017 Report.

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