Price and convenience to remain top drivers for UK grocery customers

The Co-operative Retail Conference was given an analysis of trends by Vanessa Henry from IGD

The fundamental needs of grocery shoppers will stay the same in spite of retail market changes, Vanessa Henry from retail analyst IGD told the Co-operative Retail Conference. 

In her presentation to delegates in Kenilworth on 10 March, Ms Henry looked at how urbanisation, an ageing population, and the trend for young people to stay living with their parents, are bringing changes in shopper behaviours.

Customers are also becoming more health-conscious, she said, which influences their choices when it comes to grocery shopping.

Another macro trend is the growing level of connectivity via technology. Ms Henry gave the example of how smart fridges which mean food can be automatically ordered depending on stock levels in the home. Technology is also allowing people to monitor their health better, from calories to steps taken.

Despite these trends, shoppers’ fundamental needs are likely to stay the same, she argued, with online, convenience and discounters remaining the main growth channels for the UK retail market. And price and convenience will still be the key concerns for shoppers.

Ms Henry said customers are adopting savvy shopping tactics, looking for promotions and price reductions. IGD’s annual survey revealed that, on average, customers engage 26 times per month doing food and grocery shopping and spend 6.9 hours in store.

“Any way the industry can help them make this easier is important,” added Ms Henry, pointing to the Co-op Group’s recent trail of pay-in-aisle digital technology similar to Amazon Go.

UK shoppers are also concerned about buying local food and products with ethical credentials. IGD’s research showed that 50% of customers would back plastic-free isles.

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