Eye-tracking technology maps shopping habits

A shopper uses the eye-tracking glasses that monitor point of gaze, length of gaze, and eye-pupil fixation to determine which advertisements most influence her. Some 61% of the shoppers in the study bought an impulse item at a convenience store.

Women aged 18-34 are more likely to be impulse buyers while more than a third of all unplanned purchases are sweets or chocolate.

Research on the shopping habits of customers in convenience stores shows that they spend €8.30, on average, every time they enter a shop. Around €3.18 of the spend is attributed to impulse buys.

The study used a combination of eye-tracking technology and interviews to determine the shopping habits of 200 shoppers at convenience stores across Dublin. They were asked to wear eye-tracking glasses which measure point of gaze, length of gaze, and eye-pupil fixation.

Late afternoons and evenings are the busiest times for heading to the convenience store, with more than half of the research participants visiting the shops during those periods.

Those who go to convenience stores in the evenings spend more than those who shop in the mornings — over a quarter of customers will spend €20-plus in one visit.

Not surprisingly, milk, bread, and confectionary are the top three products purchased most often in convenience stores.

Despite the fact that most of the customers live close to the convenience shops they visit, less than a third complete the journey on foot — 69% travel to the nearby store by car.

Location was revealed as the most important factor when choosing a convenience store, according to 61% of respondents, while 31% said that price was the biggest factor.

The study was conducted last month by market research agency iReach on behalf of media agencies Kinetic and Mindshare.

Shoppers were also asked to take a “virtual visit” to a convenience store by watching video footage of a typical shop from a first-person perspective.

The research shows impulse shoppers are more heavily influenced by out-of-home advertising such as billboards and bus shelters, while essentials shoppers — those who enter the store with a particular product in mind — are more influenced by in-store advertising.

Grainne Dilleen of Kinetic said the research gives “a real insight” into the path of purchase for convenience shoppers and shows what influences their shopping habits.

“Using the latest in research methodologies, we uncovered that 86% of shoppers were able to correctly recall one or more of the formats from their shopping trips, showing real impact,” she said.

“Advertising was seen to be influential particularly to impulse purchasers, with 14% claiming that advertising influenced them to purchase.”

Some 61% of the shoppers researched bought an impulse item at a convenience store, while 10% of respondents said advertising influenced them to stop and shop.

It was also revealed shoppers frequent their local store around 19 times a month.

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