According to a survey of more than 500 shoppers by Behaviour & Attitudes for Checkout magazine, consumers were asked in which categories they are most likely to trade up, and buy a more expensive product, and in which categories they were looking to trade down, and buy a cheaper product.
Not a single person surveyed said they were looking to trade down when it came to baby formula or baby foods, with 13% and 11% respectively looking to trade up — the second year in a row that these categories have ranked highest.
In addition, the majority of respondents (87% and 89%) said that they were purchasing the same products in these categories that they have always done.
Other categories in which consumers were most likely to trade up included vitamins and health supplements (13%); fresh meat (10%); wine (10%); beer (9%); cakes (9%); and nuts (9%).
However, in all of these categories, more consumers are looking to trade down than trade up — about twice as many when it comes to fresh meat (21%) and three times as many wine shoppers (30%).
The survey also found that 71% of respondents are likely to continue shopping in “cheaper grocery stores”, such as Aldi, Lidl, or Dealz, even as the economic situation improves, while 47% are likely to continue to switch to store brand/ private label items in-store.
Commenting on the survey, editor of Checkout magazine Stephen Wynne-Jones, said it showed that shoppers “refuse to scrimp on quality” when it comes to baby food.
“While there are signs that more shoppers are seeking higher-priced quality options in categories such as meat, or fruit and vegetables, the typical consumer remains very much on a value footing, seeking the best price possible in most categories,” he said.
Director at Behaviour & Attitudes, Martha Fanning, said it was now clear there is a growing improvement in consumer confidence.
“For a long time it felt like the mood was lifting, but there was a lack of follow-through when it came to how people were behaving,” said Ms Fanning.
“Finally, we are seeing evidence of increasing spend and trading up across a much wider range of categories.
“Shoppers remain keen to extract maximum value from their food budget, but at the same time, they are clearly loosening the purse-strings on relevant categories.”
Meanwhile, data released by Kantar Worldpanel this week for the 12 weeks ending April 26 showed that the growth rate for Aldi and Lidl is slowing.
While Aldi increased 8.8% and Lidl 7.8%, this is the first time since 2010 that Aldi and Lidl have increased their sales by less than 10%.
Tesco and SuperValu share the top spot and are level in terms of market share at 25%.
Among the big three retailers Dunnes has posted the strongest sales growth of 3.6%, lifting its market share from 21.5% to 22%.