Purchasing fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in Europe is largely driven by factors other than price, according to the latest insights from Kantar Media's 'TGI Europa' study of shoppers in Britain, Germany, France and Spain. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The shopper behaviour segmentation revealed that, even though two groups of shoppers are predominantly driven by price - 'Strategic Savers' and 'Promiscuous Purchasers' - these account for only around one third of shoppers. With almost two-thirds of shoppers motivated primarily by other factors, it is clear that supermarket price wars do not impact most shoppers.

Shopping motivations in Europe are a complex mix, and it is undoubtedly critical for brands and retailers to understand the bias in shopper types by market. Key highlights from the study included:

  • Despite being hard hit by recession, Spanish shoppers still favour premium goods. The 'Quality Crusaders', who are predominantly driven by quality and willing to pay a premium for it, are particularly likely to be found in Britain (23% of its shoppers) and Spain (20% of its shoppers). The overall proportion of 'Quality Crusaders' across the four markets is only 17%. This demonstrates the strength of attachment to premium ranges and brands in Spain where, despite being under a great deal of financial pressure, a high proportion of shoppers continue to refuse to compromise on quality.
  • German shoppers are especially likely to be 'Strategic Savers'. This group, who are driven by low cost, account for 21% of all German shoppers. This despite the fact that Germany has fared better economically than most markets in recent years. In France and Britain 17% of all shoppers are 'Strategic Savers' and in Spain the figure is 14%.
  • Despite having very few 'Strategic Savers', Spain has an especially high proportion of 'Promiscuous Purchasers', and both groups are influenced ultimately by saving, but one ('Promiscuous Purchasers') is prominent for its extensive brand repertoire in keeping costs down, and potentially therefore not compromising on quality, whilst the other ('Strategic Savers') is more directly driven by low prices.
  • More French shoppers like convenience. Compared to other countries, France has proportionately around twice as many 'Convenience Kings' (driven by anything that makes shopping more convenient e.g. locality, opening hours, parking etc) as any of the other three countries. This may be due to the prevalence of enormous hypermarkets in France, selling everything under one roof.
  • Germany accounts for more than half of all 'Conscious Connoisseurs' in real terms. These are people who are passionate about food and absorb information about it at every opportunity, from various sources. However, this is tempered by the fact that such passion for food is relatively unusual and this is the smallest of the FMCG groups, accounting for 7% of shoppers.
  • British shoppers are the least ethical. By some distance, shoppers in Britain are the least likely to be driven by ethical considerations (only 6% of shoppers). However, in Germany and Spain ethics are a key driver for a much greater proportion (12 and 11% respectively) and indeed the overall proportion of shoppers across the four markets who are 'Ethical Empathisers' is 9%.

"The world of FMCG shopping is hugely competitive, causing brands and retailers to embark upon price-based promotions and in some countries create price wars. No-one is immune from commercial difficulties, as some of the most established retailers have been finding in recent years," concluded Anne Benoist, director for Kantar Media TGI. "It is therefore more important than ever that brands and retailers understand the different types of shoppers that exist across Europe and tailor their offer to appeal to the very different motivations that drive each group's shopping behaviour. When sales are under threat cutting prices is seen by many as a quick fix, but the reality is that it will probably only sway a minority of shoppers."