In a recent survey of more than 2,600 European consumers, data and analytics group IRI found that more than one-third of shoppers are using mobile applications to find information on products and seek out “the best offers”.
Of these “digital info seekers”, IRI said that 65% reported that their efforts are saving them money. A total of 37% of people reported that they use the internet to seek out in-store promotions and offers, while 22% use the internet to identify which shops have the best deals on a given day.
But that isn’t all mobile data is being used for, with a further 38% of people searching for information on product ingredients and usage – pointing to the growing consumer demand for ingredient transparency and clean labels as well as concern over the health credentials of products.
“There is clear evidence that shoppers are carefully planning what they buy to save money as well as ensure that they are buying the healthier food options that they desire. Increased demand for healthier food options such as vegan or gluten-free and concern about food provenance is clearly of key importance for Infoseekers. Further, they may also be looking to reduce waste for cost and environmental issues,” Livio Martucci, IRI director, noted.
Consumers are using digital research to write their shopping lists as well as making in-store decisions. Most shoppers (84%) prepare a list. The majority say they check what they need at home and more than a third are reading in store leaflets or offers.
IRI spoke to consumers in Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, France, the UK and Holland. The firm noted a regional divide in responses, with consumers in Southern Europe more focused on seeking out savings.
Southern Europeans facing “more severe economic pressure” are more active info seekers, with 45% of Greek, 39% of Spanish and 33% of Italian consumers regularly using the internet to seek information before shopping.
Germans are “also very prudent” , with 37% using digital information to inform their grocery shopping decisions. However, this figure dips to 26% in Holland and 31% in the UK and France seeking information to save money.
The increasing use of mobile technology presents food makers with a new opportunity to connect with shoppers, IRI suggested.
Of the 36% of European shoppers who use their smartphones in-store, 17% are looking for promotions (Italy was 25% and Greece 22%), 16% are searching for information about products (26% in Italy and 21% in Spain) and 12% are using digital coupons.
“The survey also provides guidance for FMCG marketers on when best to communicate offers with shoppers,” added Martucci. “There is clearly an opportunity for them to use mobile advertising and promotions while shoppers are in list prepping mode as well as when they are in store.”
Hesitant on e-commerce
While a significant proportion of European shoppers are using the internet to research their grocery shop, IRI’s research suggested that people still prefer the experiential process of bricks-and-mortar shopping for food.
Thirty-four percent of European grocery shoppers utilised grocery e-commerce at least once in the last year but only 21% said they were likely to buy food online in the future in compared to 37% who said they are unlikely to do so. More than half of respondents said that they prefer to “see and touch” products and 28% said it is easier to compare prices in store.
“Shoppers are saying that they still prefer to be in store to see and touch products. There is a big opportunity for retailers to improve the physical experience in-store and help shoppers to locate the best offers. Further, online retailers might consider making changes that make it easier for Internet users to compare prices, find promotions and new product launches,” Martucci concluded.