The time Americans spend shopping and the way they shop are changing. Those are the central themes of a new Chain Store Age/Leo J. Shapiro & Associates study of consumers from across the country.
The survey finds that shopping time is on the decline. One in two consumers say they are devoting less time to shopping than they did a year ago, and two-thirds say they are making an effort to cut back. The decline is more frequently found among shoppers age 45 and older than among younger shoppers.
Higher gasoline prices are partially to blame for the shift in shopping behaviors. Nearly two in three (61%) say that the price of gasoline has affected their shopping. A third say that the effect has been substantial.
The reduction in shopping time can be found across most store formats, but was most frequent in apparel specialty stores and convenience food stores. Time-cutting was found least often in bookstores and home-improvement centers.
Consumers are employing several strategies to conserve their time, according to the survey. Seven in 10 are combining shopping trips, and two-thirds are trying to do more shopping at off-hours. A third say they are doing more on-line shopping.
Some of the survey’s other findings include:
Time spent in a store is important to retailers as it correlates to dollars spent. On average, shoppers spend upward of one dollar a minute in each of 10 retail categories examined;
Despite time pressures, consumers do not want to be rushed when shopping. They like to take their time in a store; and
Although self checkout represents a time-saving opportunity, only 43% say it shortens checkout time. Nearly as many, 38%, say it lengthens checkout. Still, given a choice, 39% say they would use self checkout over a cashier.
The full study is available in PDF format at the Web site