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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Convenience Makes a Comeback

Many consumers are opting to save time in lieu of money these days, according to new research from marketing firms The Integer Group and M/A/R/C.

"The Checkout" report found that 28 percent of June 2009 shoppers describe themselves as "preferring to spend more if it saves them time." This was up from 23 percent in May. Additionally, the number of customers (28 percent) who responded that "saving money by shopping around" was their top preference fell from 33 percent the month prior.

This shift in consumer shopping habits may be good news for convenience stores, said Randy Wahl, executive vice president of M/A/R/C. "Convenience stores have an opportunity to draw a larger number of shoppers if they focus on a few of the fundamental factors." These include providing a clean store and improving the overall shopping experience.

The monthly report, which surveyed 1,200 adults, also found that consumers are now more comfortable with using credit cards than in recent months. Twenty-six percent preferred to buy on credit instead of waiting to purchase later, up from 23 percent in May. When asked about their top criteria for selecting a store, "accepts my credit or bank cards" increased 4 percent compared to the previous month.

Other criteria related to convenience, such as "is easy for me to find the things I need" and "checkout is quick" saw notable increases when compared to earlier results. High price remains the top reason for shoppers not to make purchases at 60 percent, but shopper concerns about finding exactly what they are looking for has almost matched it, at 59 percent.

"The majority of shoppers surveyed want to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible," said Craig Elston, svp of Integer, in a statement. "Convenience stores often give time back to the consumer to do other things."

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