There's not much consumers can do to avoid the distinctly higher prices they're faced with at supermarkets, but a new study from Deloitte shows they're not paying more without a fight.
"I was surprised to see that consumers are treating grocery shopping as a sport now," Pat Conroy, Deloitte's vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, tells Marketing Daily in an email. "They are no longer feeling like victims and instead have a mindset that [says] 'I can beat you at your own game when it comes to shopping in spite of you raising prices and decreasing package size'."
He says it's very apparent that "2011 is different than 2008. Consumers are more savvy, more conscientious, and have more tools at their disposal to squeeze the most out of their spend."
The study finds that consumers are extremely aware of the shift in prices, with 88% of respondents saying that costs in food stores are escalating, and 74% say the size of some packaged goods is smaller.
This -- combined with higher gas prices -- has them shopping less as spending strategy, with 73% making fewer trips to the grocery store, and 41% purchasing fewer items overall.
They're also shunning pricier national brands, with 75% tossing lower-priced products into their basket, and 40% buying more private-label products. And 34% are using smartphones to research food prices or product information while in a store, and an impressive 28% of the sample saying they've interacted with a food retailer via their mobile application or Web site. (And 53% say they are using technology more to find out about food products.)
"The use of shopping-related mobile applications by Smartphone owners in the grocery shopping process is higher than we expected," adds Conroy, "particularly around managing a shopping list and researching food prices or product information. By using Smartphone shopping related applications in the grocery store, consumers have more control over sticking to their budget and researching food prices and product information before coming into the store or while in the store."