him! international launches the first Global Convenience Shopper Study

Shoppers were interviewed in 11 countries across a range of more than 60 issues – it’s a really comprehensive study to give us and our clients excellent baseline shopper insights. We have learned the following about Australian convenience shopping and shoppers:

  • ‘Convenience’ and top-up shopping is a way of life in Australia. Seventy-three per cent of the population top-up shop, either in between bigger shopping trips or they only ‘convenience’ shop through the week (ie, shop little and often).
  • The trend is only going one way, with 24 per cent of shoppers in Australia saying they are top-up shopping more often now than they were a few years ago. While 15 per cent say they are top-up shopping less, the net effect is that nine per cent of the population are top-up shopping more.
  • Our latest research reveals that convenience shopping takes place in all formats of stores, not just convenience stores, and a high number of Australians still top up in supermarkets.
  • We like to understand the underlying causes for key growth trends, so we have asked shoppers in which way top-up shopping benefits them. The range of answers won’t be a surprise, but we know which ones drive convenience shopping more than others. We have learned that top up shopping helps shoppers in Australia keeps foods fresh, as well as helping them to reduce food wastage.
  • Globally, food-to-go is a key mission and 35 per cent of shoppers in Australia are going on a top-up trip to buy items for that evening’s dinner and 22 per cent have bought food on-the-go for lunch.
  • Of interest to both retailers and suppliers alike is a point that crops up a few times around ranging. When asked what deters them from using convenience stores more, shoppers mentioned the following in not insignificant numbers:
    • “Not having the right range of products to suit my needs.”
    • “Not enough healthy options.”
    • “Pack sizes not suitable to me.”

Now we all know that there are only so many SKUs a 300sqm store can stock – we cant be all things to all people. We also know that the smaller the range, the easier it is for shoppers to shop a fixture, for store staff to manage it and for a retailer to get a better ROI from the category.

However, perhaps it is worth reviewing what shoppers want. Also, if we can’t offer everything shoppers want in our stores, how do we utilise e-commerce to deliver a bigger range of products digitally? Not easy, we know, but food for thought.

Introducing him! international

him! international was launched in the early part of 2015. It is run by Tom Fender, ex-MD of him! research and consulting in the UK, and Neil Turton, ex-CEO of Nisa. The venture is backed by William Reed Business Media (WRBM), publishers of many B2B trade titles in the FMCG and hospitality sectors, including The Grocer, Convenience Store Magazine, Forecourt Trader and The Publican’s Morning Advertiser.

In the UK, him! carved out a niche in the late 1990s by identifying a growth in convenience shopping and found that insight in this sector was virtually non-existent. So, in 1997, him! launched the Convenience Tracking Program (CTP), which soon became the ‘common language’ for all shopper insight in the UK convenience sector. As many as 100,000 shoppers were interviewed each year by him! and virtually every main retail group large and small, and every supplier, signed up to CTP, including Nisa.

So, when Mr Fender decided to step down from running him! in early 2014 (him! had been bought by WRBM), he took some time out and looked for his next challenge. He’d always had a hankering to “go global” as convenience shopping is one of the few growth sectors internationally. When Neil Turton decided to step down after 23 years at Nisa (13 of them as CEO) in the middle of 2014, the two of them sat down over lunch and decided to launch him! international.

WRBM was keen to join the party, having very clear international ambitions of their own, and so it was announced in September 2014 that him! international was born.

The first six months were spent setting up the company and getting the foundations in place. This included conducting the first global shopper study – interviewing shoppers in 11 convenience markets. It was a ’no brainer’ to include Australia within the first global study.

The plan is to conduct a global study each year, with more countries included in the benchmarking as more companies come on board to support the program.

We will also be getting account-specific feedback from shoppers across a number of key retailers in each market, allowing retail chains to benchmark their shopper feedback with that of their peers.

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