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    Report Finds Economy, Americans Getting Healthier

    Retailers also seeing increased digital engagement: Acosta

    The nation’s economy is turning the corner, and American consumers are responding by turning to healthier food options with more frequency and determination, according to Acosta Sales & Marketing’s bi-annual “The Why? Behind the Buy” report.

    The report also details an increase in shoppers’ use of technology for grocery shopping, and insights on the shopping patterns of the Gen X and Gen Y shopper.

    The Economy is Turning the Corner. With signs of slow improvements in the U.S. economy, consumer confidence is also improving.

    • Consumer spending is on the rise and up 1.7 percent in the grocery channel for the first quarter of 2013.
    • Thirty-three percent of shoppers ages 18-44 (Gen X & Gen Y) reported they are making more routine shopping trips, and this number will continue to grow as their careers advance and they purchase homes. U.S. Hispanics also reported making more routine shopping trips.
    • Shoppers are buying more in categories across the store including frozen foods, pet food and household products.

    Americans Want To Eat Healthier. Despite the prevalence of obesity in the U.S., shoppers report a strong overall interest in their health and wellness, and a strong desire to follow a lifestyle centered on healthy eating.

    • Fifty percent of shoppers indicated that they read nutrition labels “most of the time” or “always.”
    • Eighty-one percent of shoppers report that they “usually” or “sometimes” select and consume healthier foods.
    • “Whole grain/wheat” was the most important food claim respondents considered when purchasing a product.
    • Gen Y and U.S. Hispanic shoppers were most likely to go digital for healthy eating information and about one-third of shoppers in these groups said they have used apps to help them learn to eat healthier.
    • Sixty-six percent of shoppers defined health and wellness as “being physically fit and active.”

    The Influence of Digital Engagement is Undeniable. More shoppers, especially Gen Y and U.S. Hispanics, are using technology before, during and after grocery shopping.

    • Seven in 10 shoppers use Facebook and 45 percent of them visit brand pages at least monthly, primarily for coupons and special offers.
    • Year-over-year measurement of digital behaviors, such as visiting a store website to download a coupon, getting e-mails from a manufacturer/retailer and loading coupons onto one’s shopper loyalty card from a website, are on the rise across the board.
    • Seventy-four percent of shoppers polled believe that digital devices are important to log in and update loyalty points, while 71 percent use digital devices to post a product review.

    “We are encouraged to find an increase in grocery spending in our research – and some segments, such as younger shoppers and Hispanics, making more shopping trips,” said Acosta president and CEO Robert Hill. “To maximize shoppers’ experiences, CPG companies and retailers must capitalize on digital engagement, find ways to connect with shoppers and customize marketing programs that speak to each shopper segment, and continue to create ways to help consumers navigate through the increasingly important area of health and wellness.”

    “The Why? Behind The Buy” report provides insights into the behavior and buying patterns of today’s shoppers, as well as actionable tips to help CPG and retail marketers adapt to the ever-evolving shopping landscape. The report was produced with research from a random sample of approximately 2,000 U.S. shoppers and 1,000 U.S. Hispanic shoppers via Acosta’s proprietary ShopperF1st online survey. The full report is available online.

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