By Tara L. Peters, Director Of Marketing, Workplace Impact
It’s no secret that grocery marketers focus much of their energy and budgets on reaching women. While some men may be doing more grocery shopping than they did in the past, female consumers remain the primary purchase decision makers for weekly household supplies. Yet with the influx of women into the workforce since the mid-1900s, the profile of the female purchaser changed significantly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now represent 47 percent of the American workforce. That means 68 million women leave their homes every workday and head to schools, offices, hospitals and other places of employment. Therefore, while working women still make most of the household grocery trips, their shopping patterns changed significantly.
A new study, From Planning to Purchase: The Shopping Patterns of Working Women, reveals the behaviors of this valuable demographic and equips produce marketers to better meet working women where they are on their unique path to purchase.
Working Women Are Concerned About Health And Wellness
One strong characteristic that influences the shopping pattern of working women is their strong focus on health and wellness. Not only are they responsible for ensuring their families eat healthily, they are in the workplace — an environment that is quickly becoming a key battleground for influencing healthy lifestyles. Since employers want healthy employees and are concerned about lowering their healthcare costs, many businesses are establishing wellness programs that encourage healthy eating. Working women are taking notice.
According to the study, 96 percent of working women regularly shop the perimeter aisles, and according to 2012 research, Working Women Healthy Lifestyle Survey (also conducted by Workplace Impact), fresh fruit was the leading food that working women take to work to support their healthy eating habits. Added to that, the current study suggests that working women like to take their time when making their produce-buying decisions. Produce was the leading category that working women give thought to throughout the entire path to purchase, with 41 percent indicating that they make their decisions both pre-store and in-store.
This has particularly strong implications for produce marketers, indicating that their messages should target working women during the entire path to purchase.
Convenience-Oriented Shopping Patterns
While not asked directly about their preference for convenience, the data shows this is one of the greatest influences on the shopping patterns of working women, and it starts with making a shopping list. Ninety-five percent indicated that they make a shopping list so they won’t forget an item; 45 percent said they do so to save time in the store. This indicates that the working woman’s shopping trip is strategic and focused. The shopping list serves its purpose well by helping women navigate the store as quickly as possible, and it prevents them from needing to make a time-consuming additional trip for a forgotten item.
While some marketers continue to view grocery shopping as a task that is planned at home, the data shows otherwise. Eighty-four percent of working women said they regularly/occasionally add items to the list at work. One reason this occurs is that when it comes time to make the shopping trip, it’s often between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated they make multiple trips to the grocery store Monday through Friday, and 46 percent regularly do so on their way to or from work or during a lunch break. What this demonstrates is that due to the nature of their hectic lifestyles, working women have no other choice but to blend grocery shopping with their workday activities.
These insights show that the shopping patterns of working women evolved to keep pace with the increased blending of work life and home life. Marketers have an opportunity to drive growth by keeping pace with this trend, and one way to do that is to include reaching women during the workday.
For a full copy of the study, From Planning to Purchase: The Shopping Patterns of Working Women, please email Working Women Shopping to firstname.lastname@example.org.