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IRI Examines Latest Consumer Confidence and Online CPG Shopping Behaviors

IRI Consumer Connect Survey Reveals Seniors Feel Good about Finances, While Millennials and Generation X Are Least Confident; More Than One-Quarter of Shoppers Regularly Buy Grocery Items Online

CHICAGO — Jan. 16, 2018 — Consumer confidence is holding steady with 53 percent of U.S. households feeling they are in good financial health in Q4 2017 compared with the same figure in Q4 2016, according to IRI® Consumer Connect™ survey results released today. Despite this stable outlook, consumers are still mindful about their spending and are turning to the Internet for money-saving opportunities. In fact, 28 percent of consumers say they buy grocery items online compared with 23 percent in Q1 2016, so the IRI survey also took a closer look at the latest trends in buying grocery, home care and personal care items online.

Results from the IRI survey also examined consumer confidence according to age and found that 47 percent of millennials, 45 percent of Generation X, 51 percent of baby boomers and
68 percent of seniors are feeling good about their financial health. Nonetheless, 31 percent of consumers in Q4 2017 said they are struggling to buy needed groceries compared with 30 percent in Q4 2016.

“While consumer confidence has improved during the last few years, consumers can still be a bit shaky about their job and financial prospects, so we’re seeing some mixed signals in our survey results,” said Susan Viamari, vice president of Thought Leadership for IRI. “Many, especially younger consumers, say they think the Internet provides money-saving opportunities, so we wanted to dig further and find out what role online shopping is playing in consumers’ CPG spending. Consumers are certainly not going to do all of their CPG shopping online, but marketers must keep in mind that 76 percent of all shopping trips begin online and 50 percent of CPG category growth is predicted to be online in 2018.”

Online Shopping Trends
It is no surprise that consumers look for the best possible deals online, but how does this stack up by CPG category? The following showcases how consumers shop online to find lower-priced options (sentiment for total, millennials, Generation X, baby boomers and seniors, respectively, listed below):

    • Home care options: 30%, 44%, 39%, 27%, 18%
    • Beauty/personal care options: 32%, 46%, 42%, 28%, 18%
    • Over-the-counter medication options: 21%, 28%, 25%, 20%, 16%
    • Food and beverage options: 20%, 30%, 26%, 18%, 11%

The IRI survey also revealed that consumers think shopping online provides the added benefit of reducing their impulse purchases. Overall, 51 percent of total shoppers, 54 percent of millennials, 55 percent of Generation X, 52 percent of baby boomers and 46 percent of seniors say they make fewer unplanned purchases online.

Of course, convenience plays a big role in online shopping, with 20 percent of consumers saying it is easier to find needed grocery items online. By age, 32 percent of millennials, 28 percent of Generation X, 16 percent of baby boomers and 12 percent of seniors say they find items more easily.

Ordering online with in-store pickup (click-and-collect) provides convenience without the added shipping fee. While 40 percent of total shoppers like this convenience, 55 percent of millennials, 52 percent of Generation X, 36 percent of baby boomers and 25 percent of seniors specifically like click-and-collect options.

In the upcoming year, the Internet will play an integral and growing role in the CPG purchase process:

  • 55% of consumers will download coupons from retailer/manufacturer websites
  • 51% of consumers will compare prices on retailer websites to find the lowest prices on needed items
  • 24% of consumers will order online for home delivery
  • 22% will order online and pick up in store
  • 12% will use online subscription services for some grocery purchases
  • 6% will use online meal kit delivery services

As e-commerce gains steam, consumers are looking for a variety of offerings that will enhance and/or simplify their shopping experience. Delivery — free and/or fast — is quite popular, but desires go beyond that, particularly among younger consumers (sentiment for total, millennials, Generation X, boomers and seniors, respectively, listed below):

  • Online purchasing with free delivery: 50%, 58%, 57%, 49%, 39%
  • Online purchasing with fast delivery: 36%, 45%, 43%, 34%, 25%
  • Online purchasing with in-store pickup: 33%, 44%, 43%, 30%, 22%
  • Online purchase of freshly prepared items: 28%, 42%, 34%, 24%, 17%
  • Subscription services for frequently purchased items: 22%, 31%, 30%, 20%, 11%

“When consumers think about online CPG shopping, they have specific ideas about what is helpful in their lives,” added Viamari. “There really is no one-size-fits-all answer, so it’s critical to understand what it is that makes your key shoppers tick.”

Helpful Links:
IRI Consumer Connect Q4 2017:

E-Market Insights 2.0 Press Release:

IRI E-POS Measurement Solution:

About the IRI Consumer Connect Survey
IRI provides new survey results at the end of each calendar quarter covering shoppers’ behaviors and attitudes as they directly relate to their strategies for learning about, purchasing and utilizing CPG and health care products, as well as information regarding perceptions of economic conditions and their ability to provide for their families. For more information about customizing the research for a particular category or industry, please email

About the IRI Partner Ecosystem
IRI fundamentally believes that delivering differentiated growth for clients requires deep, highly integrated partnering with a variety of best-of-breed companies. As such, IRI works closely with a broad range of industry leaders across multiple industries and sectors to create innovative joint solutions, services and access to capabilities to help its clients more effectively collaborate and compete in their various markets and exceed their growth objectives. IRI is committed to its partnership philosophy and continues to actively enhance its open ecosystem of partners through alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions and affiliations. The IRI Partner Ecosystem includes such leading companies as 84.51°, Adobe, The Boston Consulting Group, comScore, Experian, GfK, Gigwalk, Ipsos, Mastercard Advisors, MaxPoint, Pinterest, Oracle, Research Now, Simulmedia, SPINS, Survey Sampling International, Univision, Viant and others.

About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information, visit

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IRI Contact:
Shelley Hughes
Phone: + 1 312.474.3675

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