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Shop ‘Til You Drop

To the Editors of American Demographics:

I'm looking for basic demographic information, such as age and income, for typical shoppers at the following retail outlets: convenience stores, grocery stores, wholesale clubs and liquor stores. I'm also interested in the items those shoppers are most likely to purchase. I've searched the Web and cannot find the information.

Ron Desjardins

Chief Strategic Brain/Principal

Brainium Inc.

Manchester, NH

Dear Ron:

You're in luck. Schaumburg, Ill.-based market research firm ACNielsen makes it its business to stock up on just the data you requested. The company has reports detailing the demographic segments most likely to shop in convenience stores, grocery stores and wholesale clubs — and the items those folks are most likely to buy. Unfortunately, the firm doesn't track liquor stores. Here are some highlights:

You're likely to find blue-collar workers and people with annual household incomes of less than $20,000 haunting the corner Quickie Mart. Blacks are also likely to do much of their shopping at convenience stores. According to ACNielsen, these segments of the population account for a disproportionately high percentage of sales at such outlets. Doling out more than their share at grocery stores and supermarkets are people with kids, women ages 35 to 44 and households with three or more family members. People who earn $70,000 or more a year, women ages 45 to 54 and urbanites are most likely to tote home 5-pound jars of mayonnaise.

Now, onto what these shoppers buy. It should come as no surprise to convenience store owners that their customers are likely to purchase tobacco, automotive supplies and beer. But ACNielsen notes these storeowners might also benefit from increasing their supplies of sugar and other sweeteners, insecticides and shortening. In addition to snacks, cereal and cheese, people likely to shop at grocery stores are also apt to buy stationery and school supplies, detergent and grooming aids. If stocking the floor of a wholesale club is your modus operandi, my best advice to you is to keep on your toes. Frequent shoppers at wholesale clubs have diverse tastes and are more likely to buy everything from bottled water to electronics to yogurt. Just remember to lift with your legs!

John Fetto

Research Editor

Greener Pastures

To the Editors of American Demographics:

We'd like information about the demographics of the average lawn-care customer. I've heard you ran an article in a past issue that may be of some help.

Sheri Baron

Marketing Coordinator

Lawn Doctor Inc.

Holmdel, N.J.

Dear Sheri:

Indeed, there was a “Reader Request� article in the March 2001 issue of American Demographics in which we reported the median household income of Americans by the size of their yard. But to accurately target the lawn-care market, there's more you need to know. For additional information we weeded through some data from Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI) and dug up the dirt on people who use a lawn maintenance service.

Approximately 7 percent of all American households (7 million homes) paid for lawn maintenance services last year. According to MRI, this crowd has an average annual household income of $65,249. Not surprisingly, yards surrounding more expensive homes are more likely to be maintained by someone not living in the dwelling. Residents of homes valued at $100,000 and above are three times more likely to use a lawn maintenance service than residents of homes valued less than $60,000 (12 percent versus 4 percent).

Also worth noting is the correlation between a person's length of residence at an address and the use of a lawn service. Only 4 percent of those who have lived in their home for less than a year use a lawn service, compared with 9 percent of households that have been inhabited by the same bunch for five years or more.

If you're looking to advertise your lawn service business on the radio, MRI's research suggests you select an adult standards station (stations that play a mix of music from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Barbra Streisand). Fourteen percent of listeners to adult standards radio pay for lawn maintenance services — twice the national average.

John Fetto

Research Editor

Honey, I'm Heading to the Store!

Men make more visits to convenience stores, but women spend more per trip.

Trips Average Basket Size
Men Women Men Women
Convenience 52% 48% $6.97 $9.14
Grocery 35% 65% $21.38 $29.81
Wholesale 37% 63% $71.67 $75.80
Source: ACNielsen

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