Top up Shopping or the next meal – can retailers tell the difference?

Convenience stores are the most used format for top-up shopping, with 60% of shoppers visiting them for this type of trip, according to IGD’s latest ShopperVista research. This is because their network is widespread, making them easily accessible for most people.

However, competition to capture total top-up spend is intensifying, as shoppers now visit a number of different types of store to meet shopper missionstheir top-up shopping requirements. As well as convenience stores, some 42% of shoppers now also use supermarkets for top-ups, as well as 31% who visit food discounters and 22% who use high street discounters. This is a summary of the relative importance of the key shopping missions

The convenience channel is ahead for staple top-up items such as bread, milk and eggs with 50% of shoppers using c-stores for topping up on staples, whilst 32% use supermarkets and 18% use food discounters.Asda

However, IGD data shows that when it comes to topping up on fresh foods such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, the supermarket is the most used channel. Some 29% of shoppers use supermarkets for a top-up shop on fresh foods, against 18% who use convenience stores and 18% who visit food discounters. Other channels used for fresh food top-ups include specialist stores such as greengrocers and butchers, farmers’ markets, high street discounters and hypermarkets.

HiM research showed that the average value of the shop in convenience stores was also going up BUT this is mainly a result of the big spenders increasing their basket size.

Obviously top up shop is a phrase that is designed to conjure up an image of shopping carried out between major shops, perhaps for staples. However, with the increasing variety of convenient stores I question if there is enough distinction made as to where, and what, the next meal will be.

The Personal Journey

Much is made of the shopper buying for the family, and relatively little attention paid to the occasions when, and where, they buy for themselves. There is also a significant distinction building up between the way people behave when they are buying for someone else and the way they buy without the added pressure of the family.

This applies in spades to lunchtime in urban areas, where healthy snacks outperform standard confectionery.

The rapid growth of concierge services shows how convenience as a service has to become more responsive to local diverse needs. It becomes the way that they can stay in a growing business without the purchasing resources of the majors. It is also, incidentally, the reason why the one size fits all for the majors is likely to impact next on their convenience offering.

Asda already discovered that their mini Asda approach to their Netto stores does not work. The recent moves by Tesco to completely close down local variety will come back to haunt them later.