Survey Result: Poor Supermarket Experiences Can Go Viral

This post is excerpted from our latest eBook, The Impact of Expired Products on Supermarket Sales & Shopping Behavior: A 2018 Survey Report.

We recently completed a market study surveying grocery shoppers on actions they take upon finding expired food items at a grocery store. This post will examine a particular finding from the survey. Over the past and coming weeks, we’ll be posting additional insights from the survey. If you want to read the survey in its entirety, download it here.

The goal of this study was simple: get a better understanding of consumer sentiments regarding expired products and how those sentiments impact their decisions to shop at a particular supermarket as well as how likely it is they would share bad experiences with others.

Survey participants whose responses were included in the results self-identified as grocery shopping decision-makers in their household. All 505 of these respondents were located in the United States and varied in age from 18 to over 60, with most (32.08%) falling between 30-44. Gender breakdown skewed female with about 64% of respondents identifying as female and about 35% identifying as male.

The results of the study show that grocery decision makers are actively checking expiration dates in the store. 78.8% of respondents either check every item they select, or regularly check items in key categories such as meat and dairy products. The results also suggest that sales, not just shrink, are hurt by the impact expired products have on shoppers, with 17.5% of respondents saying they have switched their primary grocery store after discovering expired products and nearly 30% saying they would be extremely likely to stop shopping at a store if they found expired products there repeatedly. Lastly, shoppers are very likely to share experiences with others, especially when expired products become a recurring problem.

Poor experiences can go viral in your community

This report reveals how one bad shopping experience can spread to potentially impact the shopping decisions of others.

Almost a quarter (21.5%) of respondents like to share their shopping experiences, both good and bad, online. 7.7% say they would use social media to spread the word about an expired product they discovered while shopping and half (50.5%) say they’d likely tell a friend about their negative experience.

Again, this problem gets much worse when shoppers discover expired products over and over again. While only 7.7% use social media after finding one expired product, this number grows to 28.6% when it happens again and again. Similarly, the 50.5% of those telling their friends about a single discovery expands to 73.4% when it becomes a pattern.

The survey also puts to rest any doubt that bad news doesn’t translate to action. 8.9% of shoppers report having stopped shopping at a store after hearing about a negative news story or a friend’s bad experience.

Similar to who is checking expirations dates the most (and least), high and low income shoppers are most likely to spread bad news, while those in the middle-income range tend to keep their experiences to themselves.

We’ll be posting additional insights from this survey in future blog posts. To read the report in its entirety, download a copy by clicking below.

Download the impact of expired products on supermarket sales & shopping behavrior