Survey Says Fewer Brand Decisions Made at the Shelf

Published on: 2015-02-05

According to AdAge:
For more than a decade, the oft-quoted statistic that consumers make 70% of brand decisions in the store boosted shopper marketing and made other advertising seem almost pointless. But an extensive new global study by OgilvyAction indicates that consumers aren't nearly as fickle as the figure suggests -- though they're still plenty receptive to changing their minds at the shelf.

Specifically, the study from the shopper-marketing unit of the WPP Group agency found that only 39.4% of U.S. shoppers really wait until they're in the store to decide what brand to buy; about 10% change their minds about brands in the store; 29% buy from categories they didn't intend to buy from; and almost 20% leave a product they'd planned to buy on the shelf.

In all, the study found 72.4% of shoppers make one of four major purchase decisions in the store, said Jeff Froud, senior strategic planner for OgilvyAction. That's not to say, however, that they do so across all of their purchases.
Our take:

The 70% statistic has been something we've been studying for over five years now (POPAI released the number as part of a survey in 1995), and while it does seem to skew high, we're not ready to throw out our research just yet in favor of the new number.  It's likely that the 70% brand decision change number was decided across the entire shopping trip, which does corroborate nicely with the 72.4% number that Ogilvy produces.  Thus, it's fair to guess that for any given purchase the decision to pick one brand over another is "only" 40% (which still seems pretty fickle to us).  After all, some people will never consider buying anything other than Jif peanut butter or Maxwell House coffee, no matter how deeply discounted a competing brand might be.  But when it comes to snack crackers or dish detergent, perhaps they'll be more open-minded.  So over the course of a shopping trip, those items that muster strong brand loyalty have less of an impact on the overall "fickleness" of the shopper.

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