New research, which claims that “nervous households” are cutting back on their weekly food shop to guarantee they can continue to afford holidays and eating out, reinforces the importance of grocery retailers and suppliers ensuring their offers are more in tune with shopper needs and demands.

Category and shopper management specialist Bridgethorne was commenting on new Barclaycard research, which shows that spending in supermarkets fell 6.1 per cent in the year to April, the biggest drop since Barclaycard started collating these figures in 2011. Spending on clothing fell 3.5 per cent, the worst performance in three years, at the same time that spending on air travel rose 6.5 per cent and spending in restaurants continued to grow at a significant 11.3 per cent.

John Nevens, Joint Managing Director at Bridgethorne, says that this may indicate that current offers are not resonating with current shopper priorities. He says that only by understanding what is happening in the market place can retailers and suppliers develop the insights necessary to feed into range and category strategies and enable successful actionable plans to be developed.

“Retailers and suppliers need to continually improve their understanding of what shoppers are looking for and prioritising across all aspects of their lives. Bringing enhanced shopper understanding together with more effective range and category management is the only way to ensure they are offering what shoppers want, when and where they want it.”

More resource, he says, should be devoted by suppliers and retailers to organising shoppers based upon common shopping behaviours and personal profiles and then overlay this shopper intelligence with range data to ensure the correct balance and market coverage is achieved. This means factoring in the impact of socio-economic factors on market trends, deriving insights from changing shopper behaviour and using this to inform range management as well as category vision and strategy.

“Suppliers and retailers need to know who their shoppers are and what is motivating them at any point in time. They need to know that they are sending the right messages to the right people at the right time. This Barclaycard research shows they cannot be sure they are achieving this at this point in time,” he adds.