Survey: Consumers consider expected savings before shopping

NEW YORK — Shoppers today are more knowledgeable than ever when it comes to finding deals on their favorite products, and many won't even set foot in a store until they have an idea of their potential savings, according to the Deloitte/Harrison Group annual American Pantry Survey.

The survey found that for nearly 30%, at least 7-out-of-10 items in their shopping cart is discounted. What's more, 80% of them said they do their own research and have a firm idea about what they expect to save before they step into a store. In addition, 66% of consumers shop when they know products will be on sale.

"Shoppers today expect to get a deal on the products they purchase," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and consumer products sector leader. "With this mindset it is critical that consumer products companies take measures to enhance brand loyalty by connecting early and often with key audiences in environments outside of the store."

The survey found that consumers believe they are smarter and more efficient when it comes to shopping. Three-quarters of survey respondents said that that they are smarter shoppers than they were a year ago, and nearly 86% believed they are getting more precise in what they buy. Additionally, 80% of consumers said they have become more efficient at getting in and out of the store in 2011.

"Smarter shoppers know what they want, and how to get it for the best price," Conroy said. "As they become more efficient — while the consumer products industry increasingly faces a 'crisis of similar' — companies looking to thrive must find ways to differentiate themselves from their competition."

The survey found that 90% of shoppers go into a store knowing what they're buying, and 83% have a set of brands in mind that they will consider. Moreover, 80% of shoppers indicated that the recession has caused them to realize what brands they care about and which ones they don't, the survey found.

The study has some implications for private labels or store brands, as almost half (49%) of shoppers said they are no longer interested in trying private labels or store brands. Furthermore, 90% of shoppers said that they already have a sense of what brands and private labels work for their families — and which ones do not — while nearly the same amount 88% of consumers claimed they have established which store brands and private labels are good, and which ones are not.

The 2011 American Pantry Study was conducted by Deloitte and Harrison Group. The survey polled 4,086 household shoppers and food preparers in the United States from Oct. 6 to Oct. 21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

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