Researcher Kantar polled 6,000 main shoppers from its 30,000 strong panel to find out voting intentions and feelings on the economy. Combining this research with its political and social expertise has allowed Kantar to uncover the bigger picture behind voting intentions!
UKIP voters over index on British foods, preferring English breakfast tea, white bread, English cheese, sprouts and Empire apples. Those voting Labour like wholewhite bread, turkey and chilli, whereas Conservatives enjoy ground coffee, wheatgerm bread and avocados.
On the other hand people who say they intend to vote for the Greens have the lowest BMI and are most concerned about health issues (Do inhabitants of Brighton recognise themselves here). They also have the most eclectic shopping basket, preferring fruit and herbal teas, French cheese and mangoes. Greens and Lib Dems are the most likely voter groups to have cats (30% and 25%), while UKIP supporters prefer dogs (28%). Conservative voters spend the most on groceries per year, £4,437 compared to £3,925 per year for a Labour supporter. SNP, Liberal Democrat and UKIP voters are most likely to shop in a discount store.
Kantar also compared the situation now in the UK to the data it had from just before the last election in 2010. Consumers are now buying more on promotion (40% of our groceries in 2015, compared to 37% in 2010) and buying more private label goods (47.7% now compared to 45.8%). It is a tale of two countries, with 67% of us now shopping in discounters (compared to 54%) and the amount spent in Waitrose increasing from £3.5bn (2010) to £4.6bn (2015). Consumers also buy 3.5bn more calories in a year compared to 2010, which is 116 more calories per voter, per day.
Should you be surprised you are so predictable?
Well, not really. But there is more to learn from this research. People with similar attitudes cluster together. This is why you have constituencies that will go one way – or another. Likewise, they are served by shops that need to flex their range to meet the needs of their core customers (and their service standards!). So Brighton, the Green stronghold should have more fruit and herbal teas, French cheese and mangoes. As well as cat food. They also ought to have more promotion stock on the shelves to meet the additional demand.
Do stores actually respond proactively to their customer needs?
Frankly, about the same as politicians respond to their constituents. There is a great deal of central talk about catering for the needs of the shopper/elector at irregular intervals when it is expedient to be seen to be doing something.
What can brands do, then, to meet local demand properly?
Usefully, there is a considerable amount that can be achieved by direct discussion at store level. Tesco and Sainsbury allow a level of store manager personal choice in what is stocked. If brands know they will sell well in a particular store then there is the chance to – potentially dramatically – improve base ranging. Two RetailVitalStatistics clients have 30% and 60% of their sales going through non-ranged Tesco stores. So those stores where shoppers demand more of a particular brand, are actually getting what they need by local application.
What can electors do to get their views heard?
I’m afraid shopper marketing only works if you have a free choice (such as the single transferable vote) of the same selection everywhere so you really do get what you are paying for. Sadly you turned this down when you were given the chance. From memory the prime reason for this was the fear of a hung Parliament. Which you now have anyway. So what you are likely to have at the end is a free choice of Scottish shortbread voted for by 15% of the shoppers.
At least as shoppers you can impact on what you can see in a store because your local manager actually has some power to satisfy you. Or as brands, you can help your shoppers to what they want. So take satisfaction from that.