A comprehensive Nielsen global online survey of more than
29,000 consumers in 58 countries reveals how they shop and what drives
purchases in different product categories. The survey found that while some
habits were universal, like shopping for low-priced items and looking for good
quality, there are clear regional shopping and attitude differences it would
behoove marketers to be aware of.
The survey, titled, "New Wealth, New World -- How and Why We
Shop Around the Globe" found that more respondents in the Asia-Pacific region shop
impulsively and are attracted to designer brands. Latin Americans are intensely
brand loyal while North American and European shoppers are largely driven by
While North American consumers are extremely price
conscious, they lag behind consumers in other regions of the world when it
comes to doing their homework before making purchases. Only 51% of North
American consumers said they collect information on products before shopping,
compared to the 63% global average. When it comes to sampling first before
buying, only 47% of North American consumers do, compared to the global average
North American consumers are the most skeptical, with only
35% trusting products recommended by professionals, compared to the global
average of 52%, and only 25% saying they buy based on friends' recommendations,
compared to the global average of 35%.
North American consumers are not particularly big on buying
environmentally-friendly products regardless of price. Only 30% say they do so,
compared to the global average of 46%.
The survey polled consumers on specific categories including
health and beauty products, food and beverages, mobile phones and personal
electronics, household products and home appliances, cars, jewelry and apparel.
For health and beauty products, price is the top purchasing
criteria for North American consumers and TV is the main ad source of getting
information on those products, followed by the Internet and in-store.
For U.S. Marketers,
the Truth Behind Sweat Equity
When asked about personal care products they always use a
particular brand for, or seldom change brands, the largest category was
deodorant, where 57% of North American consumers said they stick with the same
brand. Shampoo was next with 50% of the North American consumers staying loyal.
They are more apt to switch their brand of cosmetics with only 23% loyalty, followed
by facial cleansers (22%).
Taste wins out over price when it comes to food and
beverages, with 62% of North American consumers listing taste as the main
purchase criteria, compared to 46% who mentioned price. In-store beats out TV by
a bit -- 30% to 28% -- as the main source of consumer information for the food
and beverage category.
When it comes to beverages, consumers from North America are
most loyal to their soft drinks with 41% saying they seldom change brands,
followed by 39% who say they are always loyal buyers of the same coffee brand,
and 38% who say they always by the same brand of milk.
Cereals get a 34% loyalty rating among North American
consumers, while 26% say they seldom change yogurt brands and 23% say they
always buy the same over-the-counter medications. Other food categories that
North American consumers remain brand loyal to are soups (25%), frozen foods
(20%), snacks (18%) and gum and candy (17%).
Paying the Price for
When purchasing a mobile phone, cost was more influential in
decision-making for North American consumers than the brand name (44% to 20%)
and the Internet (36%) was the most often cited best place to go for mobile
phone product information; 23% of North American consumers cited TV as the best
place to get their mobile phone information.
Price is the most important factor when purchasing household
products, and TV advertising is the main source of information.
One survey response that might surprise automakers -- who of
late have been touting the designs and features in their new models -- is that
price, followed by brand, was chosen as the main criteria for buying a
particular car. Design and features came in third on the list.
Of North American consumers surveyed, 47% listed price as
the No. 1 criteria used to determine a car purchase, followed by 25% who said
brand and 20% who selected design.
The Internet was listed by 37% of North American consumers
as the top source of car buying information, followed by 32% who said TV ads.
Price was also listed by North American consumers at the top
purchasing criteria for clothing, with 56% citing it as most important. Design
was listed by 32% and quality was mentioned by 19%.
In a survey section on grocery shopping, 55% of North
American consumers say they comparison-price shop on most of their buying
trips, compared to the global average of 49%. Forty-seven percent say they use
the store flyer as a guide on most trips, compared to the global average of
North American consumers are big users of
coupons in grocery stores. The survey found 44% use coupons on most trips,
compared to the global average of 25%.
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