You’ve probably heard the complaints from other shoppers who just aren’t into coupon clipping. “Why can’t they just lower prices instead of offering coupons at all?”

Turns out it’s not just grumpy coupon critics who say that. As inflation continues to hit hard at the grocery store, a vast majority of shoppers who are looking to save money say they like low prices much more than they like coupons.

That’s according to a new survey by Drive Research. Its “The State of Grocery Shopping” report asked shoppers where, when and how they’re doing their grocery shopping these days – and how they’re trying to save money.

71% of those surveyed said low everyday pricing is their most preferred way to save, with 51% citing weekly ad specials and 45% digital coupons. So nearly three-quarters would rather just pay less up front, while less than half like looking for deals on their own. And Drive Research says brands and retailers should take notice. “By prioritizing competitive everyday prices over sporadic specials or digital coupons, stores can build trust and loyalty among shoppers who appreciate transparent and reliable pricing,” its report advised.

However they can swing it, shoppers certainly don’t want to pay any more than they have to. On average, the report found that shoppers spend $174 per grocery shopping trip, up 12% from a couple of years ago. And more than half of those surveyed said they anticipate spending even more this year. 39% said they regularly spend more than their allotted grocery budget each month.


So it’s no surprise that price is the top factor that shoppers consider when deciding where to get their groceries. 72% said price is most important, while 59% cited location and 57% quality of products. And many are willing to shop around as well – on average, people shop at two different grocery stores per week, the report found. “This might be to maximize cost savings, access a broader range of products, and take advantage of different promotions or discounts offered by each store,” Drive Research speculated.

And most of that shopping is still taking place in person. While usage of grocery delivery services has soared 56% since 2022, the report noted that 74% of regular grocery shopping was done in a physical store. Mainstream grocery chains are still the top choice of 61% of shoppers, with mass merchandise supercenters like Walmart and Target a close second at 56%. About a third prefer club stores or dollar stores.

With so many options out there, saving money is important, but “today’s consumers no longer use price as the sole deciding factor for choosing which store to buy from,” the report stated. “Convenience, healthy food options, online delivery or pick-up availability, and brand loyalty among many other factors drive a customer’s buying behavior.”

And if you want to get in and get out of the store as fast as possible, Drive Research offers some advice there as well. Most people, it found, spend less than 44 minutes grocery shopping per trip. But you might spend more time navigating through crowded aisles and waiting in long checkout lines if you shop on Saturdays between 10am and 2pm, because that’s the busiest time of the entire week. Tuesday evening, after 8pm, is your best bet, as the survey found that’s the least popular time for grocery shopping. “Grocers should consider optimizing staffing levels and conduct maintenance or restocking activities during these quieter periods,” the report advised – because there’s nothing worse than trying to get past employees blocking the aisles while stocking shelves during the busiest shopping times.

In the end, when you shop may not necessarily help you save money. But where you shop certainly can. It’s up to you whether you go where you pay the same prices everyone else does, or whether you put in a little effort to clip coupons – and potentially save a whole lot more.

Image source: Walmart


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