Sunday, August 20, 2017

MIDA’s Consumer Radiography 2017 Shows Change in Consumer Spending Priorities

By on June 8, 2017

As part of the activities during its annual convention, the Puerto Rico Chamber of Food Marketing, Industry & Distribution (MIDA by its Spanish acronym) will release today, June 8, its 25th edition of the Consumer Radiography study, which aims to measure consumer behavior and shed light on the development of various marketing strategies through the years.

“This year, [the study] shows us a consumer that has changed purchase priorities and frequency, focusing spending on what is necessary and on channels that provide better yield such as supermarkets,” said Manuel Reyes Alfonso, executive vice president of MIDA.

“This is evidence that the strategy the food industry has followed, with the constant ups and downs, and providing consumers with alternatives that satisfy their needs, have been successful.”

The study, which was carried out by Ipsos, the market investigation firm, presents five findings that reflect the evolution of the consumer: change in consumption, the resurgence of the supermarket, the search for value, emphasis on home consumption and health.

The 2017 study revealed that changes in consumption include buying what is strictly necessary as the main measure to reduce spending on food purchases, with 29% of people today buying only what is necessary, compared with the 6% that reflected this same behavior last year. They also buy what is on “special” and have reduced the quantity of the products they buy.

“Consumers are coming with a fixed budget and this leads them to purchases based on what is needed at the moment,” said Freddie Hernández, president of the Consumer Radiography Committee and general manager of P&G. “Also, prices are a primordial factor when determining what to buy.”

One of the most relevant findings is the importance of the supermarket for consumers. The study found that the total monthly expenditure for supermarkets has increased by 11%. Average monthly spending increased from $406 in 2016 to $ 458 in 2017. Also, the average number of visits to the supermarket increased from 4.65 to 5.17.

On the other hand, 80% of consumers buy their food in supermarkets, but only 29% use this “channel” to buy non-food items, representing a great opportunity for supermarkets, according to the study. Pharmacies and department stores make up about 60% of non-food sales, which may include cleaning and personal care products, among others.

“Furthermore, in contrast with last year, when distance from the store was the main motivation to select where to buy, this year it is price that is motivating that decision, which involves special offers,” Hernández said. The study also showed that 22% of consumers prefer using coupons for special offers in digital format or apps, versus paper.

The efforts of the different components of the food industry to stimulate consumption in the home to generate savings and health benefits have been effective, according to the study. While dinner and breakfast stand out as the most frequent instances of home consumption, the study revealed that some 33% of consumers are bringing their own lunch prepared at home to work or place of study more often than a year ago.

As for health issues, those polled said that 69% of the actions they are taking to improve their health are related to food. Some 43% indicated that they are engaging in greater physical activity, followed by 26% who answered they were consuming products low in sodium and 24% consuming products with low-sugar content.

“In these 25 years, the historical data has reflected the changes in consumption and the industry’s great capacity to adapt, thus validating the reliability of the findings,” said MIDA President Ricky Castro Ortiz.

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