Puerto Rican consumers who earned the same or less than they did last year are spending more on the food they buy, according to a poll conducted by Professional Market Research.
The study showed that 56 percent of survey participants said they earn the same as they did in 2010, while 23 percent said they earned less. However, 51 percent of all interviewees admitted to spending more at the supermarket checkout.
PMR said consumer goods have shown a price increase of between 7 percent and 9 percent over the last 12-month period, a situation that has driven consumers to modify their shopping lists.
For example, shoppers are buying 43 percent less red meat, 31 percent less seafood, 28 percent less soft drink products, wines and liquor. Personal care product purchases also dwindled by between 5 percent and 8 percent, the survey’s results showed.
Unsurprisingly, the poll also concluded that shoppers are splitting their lists between stores and visiting establishments that offer special discounts or coupons more frequently. The study showed that families are no buying in bulk at the “big box” stores as much as they used to before the economic downturn.
Apparently, changes in consumer shopping patterns have not applied to the higher-income group, which does not seem to pay attention to what they pay at the register and stick to the same grocery store for all of their purchases, the poll revealed.
While consumer shopping changes affect grocery store bottom lines, the “out of stock” factor is also pulling down grocery store profits. This happens when there are problems getting the merchandise to the island, or due to a lack of planning by wholesalers, retailers and distributors who ignore the demographic profile of the customers in their area.
The PRM survey showed that the latter phenomenon represents a reduction of $800 million in sales, as generally speaking, grocery stores are out of 20 percent of the products that clients are looking to drop into their shopping carts. In the U.S. mainland, that average is about 8 percent.
The group surveyed confirmed that 98 percent of the times they hit a grocery store, they are unable to find what they are looking for.
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Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.