2023 Grocery Shopping Trends, Statistics, and Outlook

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There may be no industry that must adapt more to shopper preferences, behaviors, and attitudes than grocery stores and supermarkets.

Alongside these shifting attitudes, grocers are also challenged with battling economic downfalls that result in higher food prices and shortages. 

It then becomes extremely important for grocery store managers and marketers to stay up-to-date on the latest grocery shopping trends.

To help predict these trends for 2023, our CPG market research company recently completed a consumer segmentation study among 1,104 grocery shoppers in the U.S. 

Below we’ll share a few grocery store statistics we found through this survey in addition to other secondary research.

To access the full grocery shopping segmentation report, click here.

1. Cost of food is rising 

It’s no secret that inflation remains a top concern for many Americans. Due to a myriad of issues from supply chain shortages to the lack of workers, the costs of items have increased dramatically post-pandemic. 

According to a recent report shared by Consumer Affairs, grocery price increases hit a 43-year high in September. In fact, the price of eggs has increased 40% in the past 12 months, while costs of margarine and flour are up 38% and 23% respectively. 

By the end of this year, prices of “at-home food” is predicted to finish the year up 11% overall, while “away from home” food prices are expected to increase by 8%.

Curious how consumers react to products, displays, and layouts as they shop at the grocery store? Read our comprehensive guide to conducting a shop-along.

2. Saving money will be a top-of-mind issue for most U.S. grocery shoppers

As referenced above, Drive Research completed a grocery shopping segmentation study with over 1,000 U.S. consumers. 

The goal of this research was to understand the current landscape of grocery shoppers and how they differ. The study identified seven distinct segments of shoppers based on their attitudes, behaviors, and demographics.

More specifically, agreement levels with 50 unique statements about grocery shopping were tested in the study as an input for the consumer segmentation. 

The statement “I look to cut costs whenever possible in the grocery store” ranked third highest in agreement among the total survey respondents. This suggested that saving money is a top-of-mind issue for most U.S. grocery shoppers.

Download our Grocery Shopper Segmentation Report

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3. Shoppers will find creative ways to save on groceries 

American households will spend on average $5,174 per year – or about $430 per month on groceries according to a recent CNBC article

This struggle has forced many shoppers into uncharted territory, they’re forced to find creative ways to get more for their dollar. Some of the most popular methods to help save money include shopping with a rewards card, using a loyalty program, or using coupons. 

Other shoppers are taking a more strategic approach by joining wholesale club stores, finding items on sale, and buying generic or off-brand products. 

Shoppers can also compare prices between stores – and it’s not uncommon for shoppers to use up 4 different stores to get all the best deals on products they need.

4. Shoppers are more open to purchasing store-brand food items

The Drive Research Grocery Segmentation Survey also discovered a segment of shoppers that has already likely adapted to the rising costs of inflation. 

Named the “Frugal Do-It-Yourselfers,” this segment consisted of shoppers who cut costs, make shopping lists, cook meals at home, visit the same store, view store brands as equally good, and take the time to compare their options.

Frugal Do-It-Yourselfers spent the least of any grocery shopper segment on average in the study. In fact, over half (52%) spent less than $100 on a typical grocery trip.

This cost-conscious segment represented 12% of respondents at the time of the study, tens of millions of potential grocery shoppers at the national level. It may be worth keeping an eye on this segment’s growth as prices remain high in stores across the country.

Recommended Reading: How to Survey Grocery Store Shoppers and Boost Retail Foot Traffic

5. Shoppers will be less open to grocery delivery and pick-up services

Interestingly, the ‘Frugal Do-It-Yourselfers’ segmented by Drive Research were also most against having someone else pick out groceries on their behalf, presumably to not spend money for convenience. 

In an average month, Frugal Do-It-Yourselfers completed a larger share of grocery shopping in person at a physical store than any other segment (87%).

6. Thrifty shoppers also include people with higher household incomes

According to our survey, household income was also not as low as you might expect for such a thrifty segment of supermarket shoppers.

Nearly 2 in 5 Frugal Do-It-Yourselfers (38%) had a total annual household income of at least $50,000; 1 in 5 (21%) were earning at least $75,000.

This suggested that there are many shoppers who prioritize cost savings for reasons other than pure necessity.

7. Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Lidl will see an increase in shopper counts

Another trend that has developed is that consumers are “trading down” when it comes to specific grocery stores according to CNN

Discount grocers such as Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Lidl are seeing an increase in shopper counts as Americans are finding ways to save. For instance, the “bare bones” retailer Aldi can offer affordable products by selling most items as store-branded. 

Customers must also deposit $.25 to use a shopping cart – and must bag their own groceries when checking out. Americans seemed unphased by the setup at Aldi, which has seen a 10% increase in foot traffic thus far in 2022. 

This equates to one million new households that have shopped across its 2,200-store footprint this year. As a bonus for Aldi, most of their new shoppers come from both $50k-$100k and $100k+ income segments – which goes to show that even the most affluent households are discovering value.

8. Demographics of people looking to save on groceries the most

More than half of Frugal Do-It-Yourselfers (56%) belonged to the Baby Boomer generation or Traditionalist generation. With this comes a higher share of retired shoppers (38%) who may be living on a fixed income for all their expenses.

One in three (34%) indicated living alone, the highest of any grocery shopper segment. More single-income households also mean more belt-tightening may be required.

If you are interested in conducting a study for your grocery store brand, consider these three market research options for grocery stores.

Contact Our CPG Market Research Company

Drive Research is a full-service market research company with extensive experience working with grocery stores and retail brands across the country. Our team conducts online surveys, focus groups, mystery shopping, segmentation research, and other retail market research options to fuel decision-making.

To learn more about our services, contact Drive Research through any of the methods below:

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

tim gell - about the author

Tim Gell

As a Research Analyst, Tim is involved in every stage of a market research project for our clients. He first developed an interest in market research while studying at Binghamton University based on its marriage of business, statistics, and psychology.

Learn more about Tim, here.

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