Data will benefit Consumers and Food Retail Industry


ARLINGTON, VA – November 19, 2014 – A new study has found that the more active a shopper is with social media, the less likely it is that shopper will use a grocery retailer’s app in a store.


The study, from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Saint Joseph’s University, also found that shoppers with large grocery expenditures were most active in utilization of grocery apps. The study found a need for simplification and customization in grocers’ approaches to customer digital engagement.


“We segmented the users in order to help food retailer’s better tailor marketing of their respective apps,” said Nancy Childs, Ph.D., professor of food marketing and the Gerald E. Peck fellow at Saint Joseph’s University.  The research also suggests potential sales implications. “We found that customers employing apps are also the heaviest shoppers.”


The Digital Grocery Commerce: Insights for Enhancing Consumer Connection with Grocery Shopping Apps profiles various types of digital grocery shoppers based on IRI’s DigitaLinkTM digital behavior of grocery shoppers. The research is extended by investigation of consumer use and attitudes towards using   grocery shopping apps.  The findings provide retailers with a better understanding of how apps can be more strategic parts of their businesses.


Dr. Childs continued, “The app is validation for the shopper on his or her terms. Apps that relate to the customer can offer a valuable return on investment related to shopper loyalty.”


According to findings from the Peck Fellow Year Two research, using the IRI DigitaLinkTM segmentation, there are four major types of primary grocery shoppers using smartphones and aware of apps. These include:


  • Digital Enthusiasts – These shoppers are confident and active online-grocery shoppers. They are young with large households and they embrace technology. Digital Enthusiasts are maturing shoppers looking for convenience and personalization. They are a shopper segment food retailers should focus on for app usage. As a digitally active segment, they represent the full opportunity for the Future.


  • Wired for Work – These shoppers are savvy grocery shoppers who actively use their smartphones. As a more affluent group, Wired for Work shoppers could easily embrace a grocery app if it is meaningfully convenient and personalized in a way that balanced their interests in price. They are a shopper segment food retailers should focus on for app usage, and can be considered a nascent opportunity identified as the Tomorrow segment.


  • Show Me The Money – These shoppers represent the more traditional grocery value segment and are seeking price. App functions that help them meet this need will appeal to them the most. These shoppers need a price incentive in order to utilize a grocery app, and as a segment, represent Price behavior using grocery shopping apps.


  • Socializers – While these shoppers are active on social media and may even be engaging with brands on those channels, they are not currently using grocery apps or online shopping. Their social sophistication represents an opportunity for food retailers to connect with them by offering a customized grocery app. They are identified as an Opportunity segment in the study.


For a copy of the report, visit Members of the press can request a gratis copy through FMI’s media relations team or visit


Contact:               Heather Garlich, Director, Media and Public Relations, Food Marketing Institute

(p) 202-220-0616




About FMI

Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores.  For more information, visit and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit


About the Gerald E. Peck Fellowship

In 1986, the National-American Wholesale Grocers’ Association (NAWGA) established an endowment in recognition of the achievements of retiring NAWGA President Gerald Peck to support teaching and research in food wholesale management. The Peck Fellowship has evolved to a series of three year appointments of Food Marketing Professors from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, to contribute to the understanding of distribution as it relates to food retailing and foodservice. The Peck Fellowship represents a collaborative three year academic research opportunity between a chosen faculty researcher and an industry organization.


About the Current Peck Fellow

The current Peck Fellow is Dr. Nancy Childs, Professor of Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University and National Representative for Food Marketing and Retailing Issues on the USDA Secretary's NAREEE Advisory Board.  She focuses on digital grocery commerce. Her research appointment is with the Food Marketing institute for three years concluding 2015.  In particular her year one work focused on the potential for grocery shopping apps and mobile-assisted grocery shopping. The work uncovered grocery app functions and barriers critical to shopper success with the smartphone technology. She also examined the evolution of new growth opportunities with m-assisted grocery shopping apps from an innovation lens. The investigation concluded a sustaining innovation approach will advantage retailers.   The second year extended the research into a multi-faceted investigation of grocery app perception within different digital shopper segments.  Shoppers with larger grocery expenditures were most active with grocery apps. Year three research will further investigate the active grocery app shoppers focusing on digital trust.


About Saint Joseph’s University

For over 160 years, Saint Joseph’s University has advanced the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a rigorous Jesuit education – one that demands high achievement, expands knowledge, deepens understanding, stresses effective reasoning and communication, develops moral and spiritual character, and imparts enduring pride.

A Saint Joseph’s University education encompasses all aspects of personal growth and development, reflecting the Ignatian credo of cura personalis. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually through an intense liberal arts curriculum and advanced study in a chosen discipline. Students mature socially by participating in Saint Joseph’s campus life, noted for its rich variety of activities and infectious enthusiasm. Students grow ethically and spiritually by living their own values in the larger society beyond campus.

Located on the edge of metropolitan Philadelphia, Saint Joseph’s University provides ready access to the vast career opportunities and cultural resources of America’s fifth-largest city, while affording students a cohesive and intimate campus experience.  For more information regarding Saint Joseph’s University, visit