What You Need to Know: Shopper vs. Consumer Insights

What You Need to Know: Shopper vs. Consumer Insights


Walk up to any casual business conversation and you will likely hear the word “consumer” or “shopper” thrown around like a hot potato.

In most business conversations, “shopper” and “consumer” are used interchangeably. While this is understandable for brevity’s sake, when it comes to data analysis and insights, a “shopper” and a “consumer” are very different entities.

What’s the Difference?

A “shopper” is an individual who physically visits the retail location or online storefront to make a purchase. This individual may not actually consume the product or products they purchase, but they hold the purchasing power.

The “consumer,” on the other hand, is the end user of the product that was purchased. This individual may physically purchase the product in store or they may have a designated shopper.

An Example

The difference between a shopper and a consumer is best illustrated with an in-store example.

Let’s say a woman, more specifically a married woman, runs to the drugstore to pick up a prescription. While she is there, she buys her husband a new tube of deodorant and a new toothbrush. The wife is the shopper and the husband is the consumer; while the wife purchased the deodorant and toothbrush, her husband is the end user.

Shopper Insights

Since the “shopper” is the individual with purchasing power, they can provide valuable insights into the what, when and how of in-store or online purchase behavior.

With shopper insights, you can learn…

  1. What the shopper buys or does not buy from your product assortment
  2. When the shopper makes their purchase (i.e. did they shop at other stores before landing on your product?)
  3. How the shopper makes the purchase (i.e. payment method, frequency of re-purchase, etc.)

Consumer Insights

While shopper insights cover brick-and-mortar or online store usage data, consumer insights focus predominantly on who the consumer is and how they interact with your brand.

Consumer data gleans the following insights:

  1. Who is your customer? (Age, ethnicity, gender, values, preferences)
  2. How do customers feel about your brand?
  3. How do customers feel about your competitors?
  4. How can you effectively and efficiently reach your customer?

A Data “Dream Team”

It’s 2021. While we were already heading down a path toward an overwhelmingly digital economy, COVID-19 accelerated this transition making data more important than ever before. It’s a sink or swim scenario requiring businesses to rapidly respond to changing shopper and consumer preferences or risk obsoletion.

While both shopper insights and consumer insights are worth their weight in gold individually, a combination of these data sets can take your business to another level completely.

A robust analysis of purchase behavior including the what, when and how shoppers choose their products in-store or online can help sales and retail marketing teams monitor efforts and predict market trends. Consumer insights, on the other hand, dig into the why and how consumers interact with brands on an emotional or psychological level.

A market research strategy incorporating both shopper and consumer insights is the key to rounding out your data analysis efforts.

How We Can Help

Traditional market research methods are quickly becoming an outdated marketing tactic. You need shopper and consumer insights immediately to stay one step ahead of your customer at all times.

Your shopper and consumer data should be delivered with sufficient volume to easily identify patterns and trends in both quantitative and qualitative data. But, data alone is not enough to propel your business into success. Insights, or more specifically actionable insights, from your data collection is the key to maximizing the return on your investment. Without insights, data is just… data.

At Premise we understand that time is money, and we built our robust global marketplace with speed and volume in mind. With a network of verified contributors in over 100 countries, we can almost instantaneously create a network, leverage our existing network of contributors, or partner with our clients to create a private respondent network that provides the data you need, when you need it. 

Interested in learning more about how Premise can help you to gather shopper and consumer insights to improve sales and gain market share? Visit us at www.premise.com/retail-audit or email info@premise.com.