Stock Up or Quick Trip How Consumers Around the World Shop

Stock Up or Quick Trip How Consumers Around the World Shop

While many consumers, particularly in North America, report stocking up as the primary reason for making a trip to the grocery store, that reason is not uniformly widespread across the globe, according to Nielsen’s 2011 Global Online Survey of more than 25,000 Internet respondents across 51 countries. In fact, in several regions and markets, consumers indicate that most of their grocery store visits are initiated to either buy a few essential items or to quickly pick-up an item that needed replenishment. Factors such as the structure of trade, household size and refrigeration availability contributes to the differences in shopping frequency reported around the world.

By far, North Americans are the mostly likely to make a shopping trip to stock up on groceries, with 60 percent of North American consumers indicating their primary reason to make a trip is to stock up on staples. By contrast, 18 percent say they make a trip to pick up a few items, and just seven percent say they shop when they run out of something at home. “The impact of high gas prices in the U.S. has prompted consumers to combine errands and trips,” said Hale. “This trip consolidation has resulted in a reduction in small grocery trips in the U.S.”


A more even distribution of shopping trip missions is reported in Europe, where 37 percent say they stock up on grocery trips, one-in-five (21%) shop when needing a few essential items, and 25 percent make a quick shopping trip when they run out of something at home. “Retail trip missions in Europe are dictated by store infrastructure,” said Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, Director Retailer Industry Insights, Nielsen. “In countries where shoppers have a high density of stores to choose from, such as in Italy or Germany, shoppers tend to shop more often. In countries that are dominated by hypermarkets with less retailer availability, stocking-up is the more dominant shopping pattern.”

Conversely, stocking up for groceries is less common in Asia Pacific, Latin America and in the Middle East/Africa where roughly one-in-five consumers say that is the primary reason for the shopping trip. Across both the Asia Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions, about one-third of online consumers say a quick trip for needed items is the primary reason for shopping trips (32% and 33%, respectively). A similar, but slightly smaller, number say trips are made to purchase a few essential items (28% of trips in Middle East/Africa and 29% of trips in Asia Pacific). Similarly, in Latin America, the most commonly reported reason for making a shopping trip among one-third of respondents is to pick up a few essential items and one-quarter say they make a quick trip to replenish.

For more detail and regional insights, download: Shopping & Saving Strategies Around the World.