The National Grocers Association (NGA), Arlington, Va., released topline results from its national grocery shoppers survey that was conducted by Nielsen, New York, on behalf of NGA. The survey segments data by independent shoppers from regional and national chain shoppers, and provides analysis into consumer attitudes and behaviors and recommendations on how independents can identify trends and implement strategies to grow their bottom lines.

The results revealed high consumer satisfaction among independent supermarkets. In fact, 82% of respondents who primarily shop at an independent supermarket reported being very/extremely satisfied compared to 65% of respondents who reported being very/extremely satisfied with a national chain. Findings from the survey also showed that independent grocers perform highly in featuring fresh food, the selection of locally grown produce and other packaged goods and high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables.

“In an extremely competitive industry, independents are finding innovative ways to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and are doing so with much success,” says Peter Larkin, president and CEO, NGA. “With their strong community roots and the agility to respond quickly to consumer demand, independent grocers are on the forefront of meeting customer demand, particularly in areas such as local and fresh.”

“Survey results show once again that grocery shoppers are extremely satisfied with the experience they are having with independent grocery stores. While independents can grow their market share by leveraging their strengths, there are areas of opportunity for growth, such as in the health and wellness categories and offering dietitian services,” says Laurie Rains, vice president, U.S. retail consumer and shopper analytics at Nielsen.

Key findings of the research include:

Local offerings. According to survey results, independents shoppers value locally grown fresh foods and source traceability more than national and regional chain shoppers.

The health and wellness wave. Six in 10 shoppers believe that healthy foods should be displayed alongside other food items.

Digital touch. Results show that 20% of shoppers shop online, up from 16% last year, with 74% who shop online use a delivery service and 44% use click and collect.

Community. A quarter of shoppers are strongly influenced by a store that engages in the community, up 4% higher than last year’s results.

“The results from this survey provide good recommendations that independent grocers can implement to win in the marketplace. NGA is providing resources to our members to help them implement new business strategies to grow their bottom line,” Larkin adds.