Consumers more concerned with value

MLC corporate affairs director Richard Lowe set out to dispel the myth that price is all-important to supermarket shoppers.

Although many supermarkets put a great deal of emphasis on low prices, Lowe said research by IGD suggested that only 25% of shoppers - one-in-four - consider it the main reason they choose which supermarket to shop at. According to IGD, two-in-five shoppers do not think about price when deciding where to shop, while 40% of those surveyed did not put price among their top five reasons. The main reason for deciding where to shop is knowledge of store layout. Nearly half of those questioned, 46%, said it was their number one choice.

Research by TNS, however, indicates that just over 40% of shoppers are price conscious. Those least aware of price are likely to shop at Sainsbury's, Waitrose, or Marks & Spencer. Another indicator that price is not the be-all-and-end-all for shoppers is the growing sales of premium label brands. Tesco's Finest, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, Asda's Extra Special and Morrison's The Best are all doing well. And the average monthly spend on food per household is rising, up from £236 in 2003 to £271. All these factors indicate that consumers are more concerned about value than price, said Lowe.