Socio-Demographic Differences in Supermarket Shopper Efficiency

Svetlana Bogomolova, Konstantin Vorobyev, Bill Page, Tim Bogomolov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Significance of the research paper Time is one of the resources shoppers bring to a store (along with money). Enabling shoppers to complete their grocery shopping more efficiently, that is to spend less time to buy the desired number of items, could result in higher shopper satisfaction and continued patronage. This research proposes a novel way of measuring shopper efficiency by distinguishing the “fixed” vs “per item” times for a grocery trip. We then analyse the differences in shopping efficiency across different sub-groups offering insights into shopper efficiency heterogeneity and benchmarks. Research methodology We collected data from 1176 shoppers across three Australian supermarkets in 2014 using systematic sampling for entry/exit interviews and objectively recorded time using supermarket receipts and entry time stamps. We used linear regression to model the “fixed” and “per item” times, while ANCOVA analysis provided statistical confirmation of observed differences across the sub-groups. Outcomes The results revealed females were more efficient than males on a “per item” basis, while males had shorter “fixed” times associated with entry, navigation and checking out. Older shoppers were less efficient than younger shoppers. Unemployed respondents tended to spend more time in-store and were less efficient than employed shoppers. There was also a difference between part- and full-time employees. Shopping efficiency in peak and off peak periods was not significantly different. Contrary to the assumption in popular media that weekend shopping is more time consuming and hence inefficient, we found that weekend shopping is no less efficient than weekday trips. Limitations Our approach assumes that shopper efficiency stays constant across the trip. The data did not allow testing of interactions between factors. Future research should also consider other attributes such as shopping list use, presence of others, including children, and familiarity with the store. Implications We present a novel approach in measuring shopper efficiency that splits the time in-store across “fixed” and “per item” times, associated with different shopper tasks (navigating and checking out vs choosing and buying). This split allows for a deeper understanding of where and how retailers can make shopping more efficient for their consumers, thus improving the overall in-store experience and outcomes. The identified differences in efficiencies across sub-groups have important implications for benchmarking and comparison of the performance of different stores, as these will be influenced not only by different times of the day and days of the week, but also by differences in the make-up of the customer base.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Shopper efficiency
  • Supermarket retailing


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