Supermarkets and other retailers collect a massive amount of data about what shoppers buy, when they buy, how they pay, how often they shop, what time of day they shop and other details that help them analyse and understand consumer behaviour.
One of Tesco's highly valuable assets, in fact, is its Dunnhumby division, the tech engine behind its ability to utilise big data collected from Clubcard users' purchases.
John Lewis recently released a listing of trends based on its analysis of customer purchasing patterns and marketing research survey results.
This is the first in an annual series of reports designed to reveal changes in consumer behaviour and explain the implications.
Introducing the report, Mark Price of Waitrose told The Telegraph: 'People are buying food for now. The notion that you are going to
go and push a trolley around for the week is a thing of the past. It is
fundamentally changing the market'.
In other words, UK shoppers are no longer preparing menus in advance and shopping for food once a week. Pressed for time, they're buying weekday convenience and, often, planning for food-on-the-go (not necessarily fast food).
On weekends, however, UK consumers like to splash out on leisurely feasts. Bold flavours are increasingly in favour. Many use social media to share food photos and comments about what they like and don't like, which can accelerate and intensify reactions to food products--and to stores.
With better knowledge of consumer buying habits and priorities, retailers can design stores to meet the new needs and order products that fit current lifestyles. Marketing in all media will reflect these influences and position the retailers as 'the' place to shop for today's shoppers.