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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Modern shoppers’ stops

Rachit Vats, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 24, 2013
First Published: 20:59 IST(24/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(25/2/2013)

If you thought modern retail outlets continue to attract more women shoppers, think again. Research shows that 50% of the shoppers at hypermarkets are males.

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Since every second shopper is accompanied, it would be convenient to assume that a companion, if male, has been dragged in more as a porter or driver – men hate shopping, right?

Wrong. In their spouse’s company, women spend 30-50% more than when they shop alone. Women spend the least when shopping alone.

A comprehensive study of urban shopper behavior, called Shoptalk, carried out at Big Bazaar and Hypercity outlets by the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad, research company TNS, advanced analytics and data mining solutions company KiE Square, and market activation agency OgilvyAction, has thrown up key insights into shopper behaviour at modern retail outlets. 

“Shopper behavior is different in a traditional kirana store than at a modern store,” said Rima Gupta, executive director, TNS Consult.

The study shows that while men are more impulsive in their buying, women are more evaluative. Also, men buy by brands; women buy by product format.

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Price is the second most important criterion for men buying by brand, rather than pack size or product format.

If all they can afford is a small pack of their favourite brand, they will buy it rather than another brand offering a larger pack for the same price. For women, product format and pack size score highest.

Delhi-based Abhishek Salwan, 30, got married six months ago. He now spends more time shopping with his wife. "My impulse purchases have come down," he said.

Mumbai-based Waris Khan, 30, still a bachelor, said: "When I shop alone, I buy more and my preference is for brands, even if I pay more."

Shoptalk busts another myth: that a retailer has only three seconds to attract a shopper’s attention to a product.

Actually, shoppers spend two-to-four minutes within a category. If it is chocolate, they spend around six minutes, provided the chocolate section is given dedicated space within the store.

Retailers who understand this have stopped placing the chocolate section at the end of the shopping cycle, near the payment counters.

The percentage of grab-and-go shoppers is below 10%, indicating that shoppers take purchase decisions in the store.

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“Before shopper analytics caught on, it was assumed that consumers do not read product literature, announcements or back-of-the-pack communication. Analytics prove otherwise. The more you get shoppers to browse, the more they’ll buy,” said Rahul Saigal, vice president - retail, OgilvyAction.

Reading is the single highest activity – after touch and pick up – by shoppers, irrespective of gender, category and type of store.

Shoppers read most in categories that have a positive impact of their family’s health. Males, accompanied by their spouse, read the most.

Women, accompanied by their spouse, read the least. Shoppers who shop alone browse the most and spend the least. Women accompanied by their spouse browse the least and buy the most.

Kamaljit Anand, MD, KiE Square Consulting, said, “An Indian male shopper, like his global counterpart, is more definitive, quicker, prefers credits card, spends more per category and visits in peak hours.

"The Indian woman shopper is more evaluative, likes to visit in groups, spends more time in larger format stores, tries promotion options, prefers special packs than price promotions and does not visit more than seven-eight aisles inside the store.”

Shoptalk found that chocolates and carbonated soft drinks top the impulse purchase list. And that categories, not products, are bought on impulse.

So while chocolates are impulse buys, each brand within this category needs to fight harder to be bought.


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