The New Path to Purchase: An Escalation of Channel & Consumption Migration
in Turbulent Times


SymphonyIRI's Times & Trends highlights new developments and critical events across all major CPG categories and channels, providing powerful benchmarking data to help guide your strategic decisions. This report provides insights into recession-driven changes in consumer shopping patterns across departments, categories and consumer segments, and serves as a foundation for competitive and distribution strategy development as well as a baseline for ongoing tracking efforts. A free summary is also accessible via the GMA website at


Though the U.S. economy has shown some positive movement, many consumers remain entrenched in a daily struggle to make ends meet. The silver lining in this economic cloud is the outstanding resilience demonstrated by the American people.

Resilience can be seen across a wide range of daily rituals, from eating and health care, to home care and pet care. At the heart of these rituals is the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Throughout the economic downturn, consumers have relied on packaged goods companies to help them meet their daily needs on extremely tight budgets.

To stretch their CPG dollars further in a difficult economy, consumers have adopted extremely conservative shopping behaviors, resulting in a resurgence of channel switching behavior.

In a transforming economy such as the one this country faces today, the study of consumer shopping behaviors is fascinating. The battle for share of spending is nothing short of intense.


Cross channel shopping has become a well-entrenched part of the CPG shopping experience; three-quarters of consumers shop in five or more channels to meet their CPG needs.

After escalating sharply at the height of the recession, trip behavior has slowed; average basket has also slipped, driven by changing trip mission trends and associated channel behavior.

% of Consumers Shopping Multiple Channels
2009- 2010

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Channel behavior varies across CPG departments; the dollar channel is the only channel that posted share gains across departments during the past year.

Dollar Share Point Change by Department
2010 vs. 2009

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The drug and supercenter channels are performing well in health and beauty care, while grocers have demonstrated strength across several key meal-related categories and in general merchandise.

Drug, club and dollar retailers continue to see share growth across their heaviest shoppers, while supercenters lost considerable share among this important consumer segment.







Source: SymphonyIRI Times & Trends
SymphonyIRI Group, formerly named Information Resources, Inc. (“IRI”), is the global leader in innovative solutions and services for driving revenue and profit growth in CPG, retail and healthcare companies.