Contrary to common perceptions, women now account for just 51% of grocery store shoppers, narrowing the gender gap in this key consumer packaged goods channel. However, women still buy more items and spend more—on average $2.73 per shopping trip more than men—according to the latest VideoMining Grocery Shopper Impact (GSI) MegaStudy, produced by VideoMining Corp., State College, Pa.

The latest release of the GSI MegaStudy introduces VideoMining’s new Decision Analytics capability, which sheds light on where shoppers are making buying decisions and how the decision process differs across brands, categories and shopper segments.

“With Decision Analytics, we now have the ability to determine whether a decision is made pre-shelf or at-shelf,” says Richard Hirata, senior vice president shopper science. “This has huge implications for how marketing dollars are allocated. For example, if category decisions are primarily made pre-shelf, you wouldn’t want to dump all of your budget into at-shelf initiatives.”

Among the most compelling findings is the trend in grocery shoppers who shop only in the perimeter of the store. While data from 2012 showed that 12% of shoppers limited themselves to the perimeter, that number has grown to 20% today—meaning one in five shoppers don’t shop center store at all.

The MegaStudy also revealed that 68% of grocery visits are relatively small trips—10 items or less—meaning that manufacturers have a limited opportunity to make it into the basket during the majority of shopping trips. Between small trips, perimeter-only shoppers and changing shopper demographics, brands must now be increasingly precise in targeting marketing messages and merchandising solutions to reach and convert these harder-to-reach shoppers.

In addition to new analytics capabilities, the GSI MegaStudy introduces new tools that provide clients with flexibility to analyze and explore data. VideoMining’s Insights Builder is a cloud-based suite of dashboards and modules that enable user-friendly access to the Big Data generated from the MegaStudy. These capabilities extend and complement over 200 rich traditional reports available as part of GSI insights packages.

“Our new Insights Builder represents a big step toward what we call ‘guided analytics’ with an easy-to-use interface that enables users to delve into the underlying data and evolve their own learnings,” says Jeff Hershey, executive vice president strategy and development. “With unprecedented access to Big Data on real shoppers in real stores, category managers, shopper marketers and the brands now have access to previously unmeasured insights to fine tune their strategies and execute better initiatives in-store.”

The GSI MegaStudy is powered by VideoMining’s Shopper Impact Platform, which incorporates its proprietary OmniSensR Internet of Things (IoT) sensing devices with patented artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to anonymously track detailed in-store behavior and apply prescriptive analytics for a variety of applications. Using a nationwide panel of representative stores across multiple retailers, the MegaStudy provides a channel-wide perspective benchmarking across geographic and demographic clusters.