Sainsbury’s and Co-operative appeal to top consumer values, finds study

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Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative appeal most to consumers’ interest in community and pleasure, according to a new study that researches shoppers’ values.

The Supermarket UK research by media agency, Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), found community and pleasure are increasingly important values for UK shoppers and, in particular, supermarket shoppers. 

And, they will become increasingly important to shoppers in 2012, it adds.

The trend represents a swing away from autonomy and responsibility, said SMG.

The study found values including competitive prices and quality, while important, are ubiquitous and less of a differentiator in an economic downturn. 

The Supermarket UK study suggests the ‘big six’ supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, The Co-operative, Waitrose – need to place greater emphasis on fulfilling shoppers’ emotional needs rather than competing squarely on price and quality.

SMG said the study shows, for supermarkets to poach shoppers from rivals, they need to target customers seeking community and pleasure from their supermarket shopping experience in 2012 from the nearest competitor.

For each of the ‘big six’ supermarkets, the study reveals the competitor with the closest value profile, demonstrating potentially the easiest poaching environment for each brand.

Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative have the highest proportion of regular shoppers with trending values of community and pleasure and are well placed to poach additional shoppers from nearest competitors Asda and Tesco; who need to up their game, said SMG.

Of the big six supermarkets, Morrisons trails the pack in adopting and promoting values associated with society and enjoyment, said researchers. It will need to reinforce these values to retain its regular customer base, as shopper values begin to shift.

 “In an economic downturn, shoppers clearly want competitive prices and quality, however as the major supermarket brands go head-to-head, the new battleground is over providing a sense of society and enjoyment, probably as an antidote to the austerity of the times,” said Steve Parker, managing director, MediaVest. 

“Our research indicates those brands that can differentiate themselves on community and pleasure will gain an extra advantage and a greater share of the changing consumers’ wallet. Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative are stealing a march on this trend with the most shoppers demonstrating these values and the onus is on them to cement their leading position in 2012. 

“Tesco and Asda, on the other hand, would be well advised to place greater energy behind supporting community and pleasure to keep up with changing shopper attitudes who want more than good price and quality.”