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Where, When, and How Often Do Consumers Shop?

Today's consumer has far more choices for shopping than the consumer of six years ago. According to recent consumer research conducted by MORI Research, consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores than by any other method; 84 percent of adults say stores were where they shopped in the past week, versus 20 percent who name catalogs and 23 percent who report shopping online in the past week. Remember that many shoppers use multiple channels in the week. On average, shoppers using these channels shopped 1.8 stores, 2.0 catalogs and 2.4 Web sites.

Going back to the 19th century, Saturday has been the traditional U.S. shopping day. It is interesting that, while the world has changed in almost every way, Saturday is still the day when shopping takes place. Forty-seven percent of adults say that Saturday is the day they typically shop. Next to Saturday, 23 percent of adults pick Sunday. It is also important to note that 44 percent of adults say they typically shop Monday through Friday. About as many adults identify weekdays as their typical shopping days as those who name Saturday.

Recent data released by the International Council of Shopping Centers supplement the "How America Shops and Spends" data. The ICSC data show that visits to America's malls have declined from 3-4 visits per month in 2000 to 2.9 visits per month in 2004. The average shopping trip in 2004 was 80.6 minutes, up from 200I but down slightly from 2003 (the average trip in 2001 was 78.1 minutes and 82.2 minutes in 2003).The good news from ICSC is that average expenditure in the mall is up 14.9 percent to $86.30 per trip. They also point out a correlation between time spent and expenditure: 30 minutes averages $S3.ro, while an hour jumps to $67-30; one to two hours measures at $ roo.so; and, two to three hours averages $ I 40.20.

There are demographic differences in weekday versus weekend shoppers. Women are more likely than men (49 percent vs. 38 percent) to shop during the week. Men are more likely to shop Saturday than are women (51 percent vs. 43 percent). Young people age 18-24 tend to be heavy weekend shoppers (62 percent on Saturday, 35 percent on Friday), while older people age 65+ stay away on weekends but are heavier-than-average shoppers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Source: 2007 Newspaper Advertising Planbook, MORI Research