ECONOMY

Spending per supermarket trip drops 11.2 percent

The days of consumers strolling up and down supermarket aisles throwing anything that caught their fancy into their shopping carts — as opposed to what they actually needed — seem to be over for good.

Recent figures show that 96 percent of Greeks now base their shopping outings on a list penned prior to visiting the supermarket. At the same time, households are less likely to display brand loyalty if the items in question don?t come at competitive prices.

In any case, price seems to be the criterion which to a large extent determines whether consumers actually buy Greek products or not. Though a recent general tendency toward local products has been observed, this has more to do with intent rather than actual purchase, given that only 29 percent of consumers consider local products are better priced.

The new profile of the average Greek shopper, which is being shaped by the economic recession, is outlined in a new research report produced by the marketing workshop of the Athens University of Economics and Business, led by Professor Giorgos Baltas.

According to the report?s data, average spending per supermarket trip has gone down by 11.2 percent year-on-year, as it is estimated that consumers now spend 59.50 euros compared to the 67 euros recorded in the previous report. It is worth noting that the average amount spent per visit in 2008 was 71.50 euros.

Sixty percent of respondents spend up to 50 euros per visit and 42 percent from 51 to 100 euros, while only 8 percent spend more than 100 euros. The percentage of those who spend over 100 euros per visit was 16 percent in 2009 and 12 percent in 2010. The average sum spent on supermarket shopping per month is currently estimated at 322.50 euros, compared to 334 euros in 2011 and 347 euros in 2010.

The fact that 95.9 percent of consumers nowadays decide what they need to purchase before actually getting to the store plays a significant role in this drop. As observed in the report, many shoppers have significantly restricted if not completely stopped impulse buying.

It is worth highlighting that 75 percent of respondents stated that they buy fewer goods these days, while 17 percent of those asked limit their shopping to what is deemed absolutely necessary. In an effort to find the best possible prices, consumers are now more willing to branch out in terms of both supermarkets and brands compared to the past. According to the report, 65.7 percent of consumers conduct their shopping at one specific supermarket, while 18.3 percent stated that they shop at three different supermarkets, compared to 13.9 percent in 2009. Moreover, 54 percent of those questioned replied that they now compare the prices of products at different outlets, while 46 percent noted that they are now buying cheaper items.

These last two statistics confirm a couple of major changes in consumption patterns among Greek shoppers that are a result of the ongoing crisis: Local consumers are more aware, on the one hand, and are increasingly buying supermarket brands, on the other.

For the first time the report recorded consumer attitudes when it comes to Greek products. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said that they prefer local products as opposed to imported goods. As Professor Baltas pointed out, however, the question refers to consumer intent and does not necessarily reflect the final choice, which is influenced by multiple factors, such as availability, price and special offers, among others.

One way or another, the trend demonstrates the increasing dynamics of the Made in Greece movement, an initiative aimed at supporting the local economy by encouraging consumers to buy local products as opposed to foreign imports which started in mid-2011.