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Shopper Missions In The Summer Of Sports [NIQ & GfK]

By Rachel White, Managing Director UK & Ireland, NIQ & GfK Sport is the ultimate equaliser in the retail world; a phenomenon so important that it… View Article


Shopper Missions In The Summer Of Sports [NIQ & GfK]

By Rachel White, Managing Director UK & Ireland, NIQ & GfK

Sport is the ultimate equaliser in the retail world; a phenomenon so important that it binds brands and shoppers together. Whilst a myriad of factors forced these events to take a brief hiatus (namely lockdowns, recessions and extreme weather), they have returned to the fore – with no shortage of landmark tournaments in 2024.

The Summer of Sport kicks off in less than 30 days. A period that encompasses both the UEFA Euros 2024 and the Paris Olympics, shoppers are already preparing themselves for a spell of self-indulgence. NIQ’s data shows that 2.4 million households across the UK intend to buy extra or special groceries specifically for the Euros, to be consumed either watching TV at home or socialising at BBQs and parties.

This opens the door for retailers to leverage these events’ timings and make them even more memorable. However, this hinges on accurate targeting and knowledge of where, when and how these shoppers will decide to pick up their treats.

At NIQ we have monitored increasingly different shopping missions that consumers go through in any given week, which retailers and brands need to take note of especially as we head into the summer of sports.

What’s the game plan?

What we’ve discovered is that a typical week involves a variety of shopping trips, or “missions,” when purchasing FMCG items. These missions range from quick indulgence purchases like a treat for today, to essential non-food refills. Shoppers will often do a big monthly larder stock-up or a smaller, quick purchase for dinner for tonight, which will likely be fresh food. There are also targeted non-food trips for specific items, and the larger trolley shop, for the fortnightly stock-up. Additionally, many consumers make a weekly refresh trip to replenish essentials.

Last year, our data showed a shift towards smaller and more purposeful missions. One in three missions are for a ‘treat for today’ (growing at 4.7%) and shopping for ‘dinner for tonight’ doubled as consumers cut back on eating out and takeaways. In terms of the bigger shop, what we would regard as the “weekly” shop now only takes place once a fortnight.

For football fans gearing up for a mouth-watering amount of Euros action, the tendency is to break any diet they’re on and gravitate towards their favourite foods. This means they’re buying treats multiple times a week when grocery shopping.

They feel, more than average, that it is important to save money on their grocery bills, and they claim they are more likely to stockpile on promotion. Therefore, having these categories offered at the right price point will drive footfall as fans look to have a night filled with sport supporting, socialising and entertainment.

This shows that the aim for brands and retailers is to ensure their offerings are as relevant to as many shopper missions as possible to boost their growth potential.

Knowing your position

For many football fans, 2016 was the last normal Euros as the following games were while we were still trying to figure out life after lockdown. Shopper preferences have evolved since then, with some people preferring to go into the stores to buy groceries and some now exclusively preferring to shop online.

NIQ Homescan data shows that 50% of online FMCG shopping trips are for bigger missions (£50+), which is limiting growth. The traditional “big four” supermarkets are facing a challenge of shoppers steering away from large baskets and shopping around more. This has seen the discounters such as Aldi and Lidl win in each shopping mission.

There are opportunities for brands and retailers to tap into different shopper missions to win market share. But it’s about ensuring that you have a product portfolio that leans into the right mission, for the right customer, in the right store format.

On Sunday 16 June, England’s match is the same day as Father’s Day which could see a significant uptick in on-trade occasions to celebrate and watch the game and further uplift in store sales.

So for retailers to tap into the shopper missions and make the most of this opportunity it’s going to be about taking simple steps to stand out. Examples can be reviewing pack architecture – checking if a pack, size and price point fits different shopping missions for that weekend. Attention should also be paid to new product design (NPD) stages to ensure different missions are being considered across your product portfolio. All of these, together with prioritising a mix of channels to reach customers across shopping missions will also be key.

Shoppers are excited to be outside this summer to enjoy the sporting events and the excitement they have to offer. It’s up to retailers to encourage and guide shoppers along the different journeys online and in-store based on the missions during this period.

Getting into the mind-set of shoppers and shaping products and offerings towards today’s different shopping missions will be key to winning the gold medal.

Unveil the full view of shopper insights – click here.

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