New research halves standard number on buying behavior

July 30, 2008 by Dave Haynes

Marketers have for ages been talking about how 70 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in the store.

But new research from OgilvyAction suggest the real number is more like half that – 34.9 per cent.

According to the study, reports Retail Wire, 39.4 percent number is the real number of consumers who wait until they’re in a store before deciding what brand to buy. About 10 percent change their minds while in the store and 20 percent leave a product on the shelf that they intended to buy. Nearly 30 percent of consumers wind up making a purchase from a category that they didn’t intend to buy from before walking into a store.

The 70 per cent number came out of work done for the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI) more than a decade ago. POPAI says it is sticking to its numbers, suggesting: “There have been various studies that have arrived at different in-store decision rates over the years, based on unique methodologies, trade channels, and the context and location of consumer interviews. POPAI welcomes any research that helps brands, retailers and agencies understand the strategic importance of marketing at retail.”

The OgilvyAction research probed 14,000 total shoppers globally and looked at shopping behavior in 13 categories, including beverages, confectionary, hair care and household cleaning products.

While the new research failed to answer just how much advertising outside the store environment influences purchases, it did determine important factors that drive impulse purchases. Sampling and product displays ranked one and two.

“The good news for marketers is that a product display and sampling can build brand equity,” Jeff Froud, senior strategic planner for OgilvyAction, told “No matter what rulebook you studied when you were studying marketing, price promotions don’t build any brand equity and in some cases can be equity destroyers.”

“More and more of our communication is moving to store,” A.G. Lafley, chairman and chief executive at Procter & Gamble, said last month at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. “And the reason it’s moving to store is that more and more consumers are… making their purchase decisions in store. And in a period where you have a fair amount of food price inflation, we think more of that shopping list, whether it’s just in [a shopper’s] head or actually written down, is being decided in the store.”

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