SHOPPING LISTS TELL JUST HALF THE REAL STORY

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About 55% of supermarket shoppers make lists, but most don't stick to them.

Consumers buy nearly twice the number of items on their shopping list without spending more money than they had planned, according to the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute's 1994 Consumer Buying Habits Study.

For the study, conducted by the Gallup Organization for POPAI, more than 4,000 shoppers were interviewed in-store at 42 supermarkets and mass merchandisers in seven major markets across the U.S.

For supermarket shoppers surveyed, the average number of items on the shopping list was 10, but they left the store with 19.8 items. However, the budget remained about the same, with shoppers spending roughly $2 more than planned.

Shoppers' purchases totaled an average of $45.54 per trip, with roughly 43.9 minutes spent in-store.

A Gallup spokesman said he believes this shows that it is possible to change consumers' minds in-store, but that they consistently stick to their budget.

Cereal and carbonated soft drinks were the most frequently purchased items that did not appear on shoppers' lists.

Likewise, both products were among the top 10 items with the most POP advertising in-store.

The items most frequently purchased were: refrigerated milk, ready-to-eat cereal, carbonated soft drinks, fresh bread, cookies, canned soup, toilet tissue, paper towels, cheese and mayonnaise.

Cash remains the leading payment method in both supermarkets and mass merchandisers, but a greater percentage of supermarket shoppers pay by check. For supermarket shoppers, 52% pay by cash, 34% by check, 6% by credit card, 4% bank debit card and 4% by other.

Gallup interviewed 100 consumers at each store location, conducting both an entry and exit interview as well as scanning purchased items. This, the first wave of the study, was conducted mid-July through September 1994. The second wave of the study will be released in the spring of 1995 and explore how POP advertising influences the consumer.

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