From weekly bulk purchases to smaller top-ups: How the Swiss Shop

From weekly bulk purchases to smaller top-ups: How the Swiss Shop

Nielsen Shopper Trends Report 2019

By Alexander Brenner, New Business Developer

Retailers and manufacturers in the Swiss retail sector are confronted with a wide variety of changes in the industry. E-commerce is becoming increasingly popular, loyalty programmes are becoming more important to consumers, and a perceived increase in quality is is making private label products more popular with shoppers.

But there are also behavioral changes at play. As revealed in recent research from Nielsen, consumers in Switzerland aren’t making as many large bulk purchases as they have in previous years. Conversely, in 2018, shoppers visited shops more frequently, picking up the items they wanted and needed.

According to our Shopper Trends survey, 58% of consumers stated that they did their main shopping weekly — a decrease from 60% in 2017 and 64% in 2015, a remarkable shift over such a short period of time. 

More often, we’re seeing an increasing popularity in bulk purchases every two weeks. While this metric was 19% in 2017, the trend increased to 22% in 2018. Tracking the trend back to 2015, only 17% of the participants in the study made their large-scale purchases at this frequency.


With a decreasing frequency in bulk shopping trends, you may wonder if shoppers are now buying less or buying fewer perishable goods — but the figures speak a different language. Our research shows that demand for fresh food is one of the main drivers for increased “top-up” shopping trips during the week — explaining the decline in bulk trips.

In 2018, 54% of respondents stated that, in addition to their bulk trips, they also make smaller purchases several times a week — a slight increase over the previous year. The number of people taking a top-up weekly shopping trip has risen from 21% to 23% within a year.

In addition to the ever increasing demand for fresh products, we’re seeing an increasing number of smaller (convenience) shops found close to homes, particularly in cities — a trend which declines the need for bulk shopping trips. But there are certainly further aspects: What influence does the increasing number of full-time working parents have on shopping behaviour?

For more information about changes in Swiss shopper attitudes and trends, contact us.