IRI Survey Reveals Increase in Consumer Confidence

IRI_Logo_2013CHICAGO — After a rocky end to 2013, consumer confidence increased dramatically in Q1 2014, according to IRI’s latest MarketPulse survey. All age groups across the board are reporting a sunnier outlook, especially millennials, who are showing their greatest uptick in confidence, even though they’ve been one of the most downtrodden consumer segments, since the economic downturn began. IRI has been monitoring the struggles of millennials and is taking a closer look at this notable increase in a special Point of View, “Millennial Shoppers: Positive Mindset Points to Future Growth.”

“The headline for the first quarter is definitely the surge in consumer confidence,” says Susan Viamari, editor, Thought Leadership, IRI. “Consumers say they are feeling more confident about their household finances and don’t feel like they need to sacrifice as much in order to make ends meet. However, it’s important to remember that consumers are still entrenched in their conservative shopping strategies, so CPG marketers still need to work at finding pockets of opportunities.”

IRI’s Shopper Sentiment Index Reaches Highest Point since Inception

Constructed against a benchmark of Q1 2011, IRI’s Shopper Sentiment Index provides deep insight into how the economy is impacting consumers and changing how they approach grocery shopping. The index provides perspective in terms of price sensitivity, brand loyalty and changes in spending required to maintain desired lifestyles. With a benchmark score of 100, a Shopper Sentiment Index score of more than 100 reflects consumers who are less price driven, more loyal to favorite brands and better equipped to maintain their desired lifestyle without changes.

The latest index for Q1 2014 is 121 versus 103 in Q1 2013 and 100 in Q1 2012. This is the all-time highest point since the inception of the index. In addition to millennials’ rosy outlook, those aged 35-54, whose outlooks have been rather volatile, also posted a sizeable jump this quarter. Those aged 55 and older also showed an increase.

Shopping for Deals

Consumers remain comfortable with the shopping strategies they adopted earlier in the downturn, which reinforces that the conservative “new normal” is here to stay regardless of confidence levels. With this in mind, 70 percent of savvy consumers make a shopping list before they enter a store, and 75 percent make their purchase decisions before entering the store. These figures have not changed since 2011, so it’s absolutely critical to begin the conversation early with consumers.

Because 19 percent of all consumers and 26 percent of millennials are having difficulty affording groceries today, shoppers are still buying a lot of items on deal. For instance, 33 percent of all consumers and 40 percent of millennials are buying more than one-half of their baskets on deal. And, 19 percent of all consumers compared with 25 percent of millennials say they are buying more on deal in 2014 than in 2013. 

Surfing for Deals

It’s no surprise that consumers are turning to the Internet to find deals. Specifically:

  • 29 percent are downloading coupons from retailers’ websites
  • 29 percent download coupons from manufacturers’ websites
  • 25 percent research products on websites
  • 19 percent visit online deal sites, such as Groupon or SmartSource
  • 11 percent use social media sites, such as Twitter, to get coupons

“While it’s great that sentiment is on the rise, marketers must stay on top of their game and continue to deliver solid value that enables consumers to live well while remaining conservative,” continues Viamari. “The diversity of this quarter’s survey results clearly demonstrates there is no single path to recovery, and marketing strategies must recognize and reward the variability out in the marketplace.”

IRI Point of View

To learn more about millennials’ shopping behaviors and discover how to develop products and marketing strategies to capture their attention, IRI just released a new Point of View,“Millennial Shoppers: Positive Mindset Points to Future Growth.” To download the free report, click here.

About IRI’s MarketPulse Survey
IRI provides new survey results at the end of each calendar quarter covering shoppers’ behaviors and attitudes as they directly relate to their strategies for learning about, purchasing and utilizing CPG and healthcare products, as well as information regarding perceptions of economic conditions and their ability to provide for their families. For complete MarketPulse coverage, visit: For more information about customizing the research for a particular category or industry, please email

About IRI

IRI is a leader in delivering powerful market and shopper information, predictive analysis and the foresight that leads to action. We go beyond the data to ignite extraordinary growth for our clients in the CPG, retail and over-the-counter healthcare industries by pinpointing what matters and illuminating how it can impact their businesses across sales and marketing.