Discount hunters have been systematically reshaping the grocery shopping experience over the past few years, with 63% of shoppers saying they have changed their shopping habits in favour of value-seeking during the past six months alone, according to a study by market research software firm MarketTools. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The study revealed that shoppers are more cost-conscious than they were a year ago, and their search for value is changing the way they approach the shopping experience. To save money on grocery bills, respondents reported that they:

  1. Buy items with coupons (80%);
  2. Buy store brands instead of name brands (62%);
  3. Use store loyalty cards that offer discounts (62%);
  4. Buy items only when they are on sale (58%);
  5. Buy more large-sized products (43%).

And, in their search for bargains, shoppers reported that the reason they purchase store brands is to get better value (59%) and a more attractive price (56%). Additionally, 67% said they use coupons for at least half of their shopping trips, and 49% said they use coupons on every (or nearly every) shopping trip.

However, many shoppers don't see coupons as an incentive to try something new, as nearly half (49%) said that a coupon would not prompt them to buy an item they don't normally buy.

Other findings from the study included:

  • Coupon use is most prevalent in higher-income households. Of those respondents with annual household incomes of US$75,000 or more, 98% reported that they use coupons to save money on grocery bills, with 49% saying they use coupons on every, or nearly every, shopping trip.
  • In contrast, only 38% of respondents with annual household incomes less than US$25,000 reported using coupons on every, or nearly every, shopping trip.
  • Coupon usage also crosses the gender divide, with 62% of men and 71% of women saying they use coupons for at least half of their shopping trips.
  • A large number of shoppers still rely on old-fashioned paper coupons, clipping them from newspapers or newspaper coupon inserts (72%), receiving them in the mail (60%), and getting them from store circulars (52%).
  • In contrast, fewer shoppers get their coupons from electronic or online sources such as email (37%); coupon websites (36%), manufacturers' websites (22%), or via Facebook (10%).
  • Despite the current 'buzz' surrounding so-called 'daily deal' websites, only 36% of respondents said they subscribe to a service such as Groupon or LivingSocial. However, 70% of daily deal shoppers had made one or more purchases from a daily deal site during the previous six months. Most of those purchases were for discounts on dining out (20%), services (18%), and activities and entertainment (18%); grocery items made up only 13% of daily deal purchases.