Quality-focused shoppers drive additional growth for grocers in the U.S. and Europe, while importance of price declines

Symphony RetailAI analysis finds shoppers choose quality over price: 10% increase in quality-driven customers compared to a 6% decline in those driven by price

DALLAS – Nov. 18, 2021 – Symphony RetailAI, a leading global provider of integrated AI-powered marketing, merchandising and supply chain solutions for FMCG retailers and manufacturers, today announced new consumer insights that highlight an industry-wide increase in quality-driven shoppers, with nearly two-thirds of grocery revenue growth coming from this customer segment. Symphony RetailAI’s latest research analyzed 2.2 billion shopper transactions in the U.S. and Europe from July 2020 to June 2021 across the company’s customer base of leading mainstream grocery retailers.

The research indicates that shoppers are nearly 1.5x more likely to migrate up to the quality-driven segment (24%) than down to the segment more focused on price (18%). For customers migrating into the quality-focused segment, their average unit spend increased by 9%, or 9 cents on every dollar. Only a little more than one-fourth (28%) of that increase was attributed to inflation. The remaining (72%) increase in price was driven by product mix, meaning customers purchased more premium products than typically purchased before. Symphony RetailAI’s research highlighted the factors that can affect the mix of products for those quality-focused customers. For some, there is a genuine interest in healthier products or better-quality products by choice, prompting them to spend more. For others, the decision to buy an upmarket product is influenced by the exact mix of products the retailer and CPG choose to offer on the shelf.

Understanding how both price and quality motivate shoppers within particular categories has implications for retailers’ price and promotional investments. Symphony RetailAI’s research identifies clear growth opportunities for retailers to assess whether their investments are reaching the right customer need, and whether they have the right assortment of key quality items (KQIs) and key value items (KVIs) critical to success. Findings include:

  • Baby, soda & juice, and spirits are categories of opportunity for grocers. Symphony RetailAI found that the baby category is growing faster amongst quality-driven shoppers, which suggests the opportunity for retailers to balance their assortment range and not over-invest in promotional spend. Both price- and quality-driven customers are contributing to growth in the spirits and soda & juice categories. Symphony RetailAI recommends retailers promote items in soda & juice that will resonate most with quality-driven customers. For spirits, where Symphony RetailAI saw little promotional activity, retailers should evaluate whether they’re over-investing in price changes and promotions and move those dollars elsewhere.
  • Many of the categories that are important to price-driven customers are underperforming. While price-sensitive customers may be in decline overall or more likely to be migrating toward quality, they’re still a third of a grocer’s customer base and are important to understand. When Symphony RetailAI looked at categories important to price-driven customers that haven’t experienced growth since the start of the pandemic, it found the categories with opportunities were meats and poultry, baking goods, canned goods and soups, to name a few. Grocers should review their price and promotional strategies, as well as assortment, within those categories, to determine where investment will garner the greatest success.
  • Of the underperforming categories for price-driven customers, outlier retailers seeing growth are successful due to a keen understanding of consumer motivation by both price and promotions. Frozen pizza was one category where retailers are strongly resonating with both price- and promotion-sensitive customers. This doesn’t suggest a need for blanket price cuts and deep promotions, but rather underscores the importance of selecting the strongest, most effective promotions to invest in.

“It’s critical for grocers today to know precisely which customer segment is driving performance, and that requires a customer-centric approach to the business,” said Chris Koziol, CEO, Symphony RetailAI. “Retailers need the ability to segment customers to understand their behavior in relation to price, determining how the distribution of quality-focused or price-focused customers fluctuates over time. It’s not static; it’s a continuum – a more price-sensitive customer may move toward quality for a particular category or product. When grocers have a better understanding of consumers’ motivations, they can optimize their assortments and re-balance corresponding price and promotional strategies to be sure they see a valuable return on those investments for their business.”

Symphony RetailAI’s solutions for customer data analysis, promotions and personalized marketing enable retailers to accurately measure customer behavior and re-purpose trade funds where they matter most. To learn more and gain additional perspective on Symphony RetailAI’s latest consumer research, download the “2021 Shopper Study: The Changing Customer Landscape”.

About Symphony RetailAI

Symphony RetailAI is a leading global provider of role-specific, AI-powered revenue growth management solutions and customer-centric insights for retailers and CPG manufacturers across the entire value chain. Our proven, industry-leading, AI-enabled software, coupled with the industry’s only conversational natural-language AI interface, CINDE, provides key users with proven prescriptive and preemptive recommendations that make it easy to identify end-to-end growth opportunities, activate plans and realize measurable profit and revenue growth. Our solutions are specific to key decision-maker roles focused on profitable growth across the retail value chain from source to consumer. With our strong global partner ecosystem, we serve more than 1,200 organizations worldwide – including 15 of the top 25 global grocery retailers, 25 of the top 25 global CPG manufacturers, thousands of retail brands, and hundreds of national and regional chains – all through the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Symphony RetailAI is a SymphonyAI company. More at Symphony RetailAI.

About SymphonyAI
SymphonyAI is building the leading enterprise AI company for digital transformation across the most important and resilient growth verticals, including life sciences, healthcare, retail, consumer packaged goods, financial services, manufacturing, and media. In each of these verticals, SAI businesses have many of the leading enterprises as clients. SAI is backed by a $1 billion commitment from Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Since its founding in 2017, SymphonyAI has grown rapidly to a combined revenue run rate of more than $300 million and over 2,200 talented leaders, data scientists, and other professionals.

Media Contact
Adrienne Newcomb
Ketner Group Communications (for Symphony RetailAI)
adrienne@ketnergroup.com

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