Navigating the grocery aisles in 2024 | Clear Channel

Navigating the grocery aisles in 2024: A peek into shifting shopping behaviours…

05 Feb 2024 / News, Insights
By Clear Channel UK View Author on Twitter

With shoppers continuing to face a multitude of challenges, understanding their changing motivations can help FMCG brands unlock growth throughout 2024. The traditional routine of a weekly supermarket haul has long since given way to a more dynamic approach, further influenced by the sustained rise of hybrid working, so what’s on the mind of supermarket shoppers this year?   

Like a perfect Neapolitan espresso or a chocolatey treat, our new FMCG category insights are designed to give you an instant hit of what shoppers are thinking and doing in 2024.  This is just the first in a series of FMCG insight dives across the year, helping you align your market strategy and Out of Home media plans with the changing needs of your audience. 

With H2 planning in full swing, and lots of exciting retail occasions to look forward to as we spring into summer, Out of Home continues to be a go-to channel for the FMCG category. Its versatility as both a brand building channel gives brands access to huge reach, with the ability to also connect with shoppers using data-driven messages in the right moments, and close to points of purchase.  

Here are our 9 bite sized trends to chew over. Get in touch to access the full survey results, or to chat to one of the team about how we can help you get the most out of your FMCG advertising campaigns. 

Hybrid work, hybrid shop: 

A third of regular supermarket shoppers (32%) agree that the advent of hybrid working patterns ushered in a new era of planning and purchasing groceries. The lines between traditional weekday and weekend shops have continued to blur as people further adapt their shopping routines to accommodate their flexible work schedules across the working week and weekend (and Teams meetings!).  This trend is even more pronounced amongst younger audiences, with 53% of 18-34s agreeing they’ve changed the way they shop – potentially reinforced by a change in remote learning patterns as well as remote working becoming the norm.  

On-the-go shopping and home cooked meals: 

Along with a shift in when people shop, a notable shift is also observed in the type of shopping being carried out, with 36% preferring multiple top-up shops over one big weekly haul. 26% are now regularly grabbing ingredients for dinner on the way home from work, and unsurprisingly, home-cooked meals are firmly on the menu as 64% actively choose this option to save money. But from an advertising perspective. it’s about timing too – with traditional peaks around lunchtimes, after-work and closing time now also mixed in with less predictable ‘dashes’ to stores throughout the day.    

The keeping it ‘real & local’ connection: 

While loyalty to favourite in-store or online supermarkets persists (63%), a majority of shoppers (64%) still intend to shop at the supermarket closest to home. And, with the community feel of local stores gaining traction (22% increasingly opt for smaller, neighbourhood shops), it’s no surprise that over 85% of total grocery retail sales are in physical stores. Our Audience in Focus insights further reinforce a consumer preference for instore, with 59% saying they shop solely in-store (+2% vs Sept) vs 7% who shop solely online (-2% vs September). So, how do people get to their stores? Despite an increase in regular, smaller trips, 63% say they always drive. With all the best intentions, it’s clearly not always possible for shoppers to lug home multiple bags of shopping packed with heavy store-cupboard essentials. (and it’s worth noting that 1 in 4 new cars are now electric or hybrid). 

Brand loyalty vs. brand switching: 

While 42% of shoppers remain steadfast in their loyalty to favourite brands, the majority (57%) are open to trying new products or variants. The supermarket aisle is now a place where consumers balance the comfort of familiar brands with the satisfaction of discovering something new. For brands, sustained communication is paramount in upholding brand equity, and ensuring that those associations are at the front of shoppers’ minds in the right places and moments to influence purchase decisions. Our recent To buy…or not to buy research study proved that shoppers exposed to supermarket OOH screens are more likely to pay attention to the advertised brand on the shelf, spot the brand faster and are more likely to choose it. 

A healthy start to the week: 

With the workweek taking centre stage, 41% of respondents confess to embracing healthier eating habits at the beginning of the week. It seems Monday isn't just a day for fresh starts in the office anymore; it's also becoming a habitual springboard for more health-conscious food choices throughout the week. Unsurprisingly given the generation’s prioritisation of healthy eating and mental health, we’re seeing an even stronger indication of this trend amongst 18-34s, with 63% in agreement.  

Buying sustainably needs to be easier: 

Eco-consciousness is on the rise, with 44% of respondents actively seeking out products that are eco-friendly, recyclable, and sustainable. The grocery aisle is transforming into a space where consumers not only consider their own needs but also the environmental impact of their choices. The easier brands can help signpost these product features, the more likely to end up in consumer baskets. Along with the ‘healthy start to the week’ trend, eco-consciousness is another trend that unsurprisingly is even more pronounced amongst younger shoppers, with 52% regularly seeking out products that are eco-friendly, recyclable, and sustainable. 

Small indulgences, big rewards:

Over half of shoppers (51%) admit to regularly seeking out small indulgences at the supermarket, viewing them as little rewards. From a healthy post-gym lunch pickup to an indulgent evening treat before surfing the streaming platforms, it seems that amidst the hustle and bustle of changing work routines, these relatively affordable moments of pleasure play a significant role in shaping the supermarket shopping experience. 

The quest for quality and savings:

The quest for quality food products remains a constant, with 73% emphasising the importance of good-quality items. However, in the face of economic uncertainties, 60% express a desire to reduce their grocery expenses this year. For brands, striking the right balance between communicating quality and affordability is now more crucial than ever.  

The rise (and rise) of meat-free and flexitarianism: 

39% of shoppers have actively reduced their meat consumption or eliminated it altogether. With the UK vegan population increasing to over four times its original size since the introduction of Veganuary back in 2014, a conscious effort towards healthier and more sustainable eating choices is evident, reflecting further evolving societal attitudes towards food that go way beyond just January.   

Sources: Audiences in Focus, Regular supermarket shoppers (N=714), 18-34 regular supermarket shoppers (N=166). Audiences in Focus study (Mainshopper N= 655) 
Header image generated with AI

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