The American Shopping Trips: One extra $2 item per trip would drive up sales by $6B

The average American household takes one less shopping trip per month today versus five years ago, as the average number of shopping trips to all outlets has decreased from about 15 trips per month in 2001 to 14 trips per month today, according to IRI.  

Why is trip mission important? For example, adding one $2 item per quick trip would drive an incremental $6 billion in supermarket sales.

“Marketers are recognizing the need to take consumer understanding one step further,” explains IRI Global Chief Marketing Officer Andrew A. Salzman. “Marketers should define their “target” based not only on consumer segments but also on types of shopping trips, such as when a consumer is planning ahead and making a large stock-up trip or running out for a few items they need right now, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).  

Shopping Trip Types and Missions:

  • Quick Trips: to fill an immediate need typically have one-to-three items in the basket totaling around $10. Quick trips account for about 50% of all shopping trips, while these trips generate just 20% of total CPG dollar sales.
  • Special Purpose: trips are non-routine trips for a narrow set of products, but with a significantly higher basket ring than quick trips and account for nearly 20% of CPG sales. 
  • Fill-In: trips span a broader range of categories and account for 20% of CPG sales. These consumers are likely to be more price and deal sensitive. 
  • Pantry Stocking: trips represent about 15% of shopping trips, but generate roughly 40% of CPG sales. 

Trip Missions by Retail Channel
While pantry stocking trips have traditionally been the mainstay of supermarkets, other trip types will likely offer stronger growth potential. For example, adding one $2 item per quick trip would drive an incremental $6 billion in supermarket sales. Further, quick trips may deliver a higher margin than pantry stocking trips, because quick-trip shoppers are more likely to say they are “in a hurry on this trip” and less likely to pay attention to prices, according to a September 2006 IRI survey. 

Nearly 75% of drug store trips are quick trips. The IRI survey showed that about 25% of drug store quick trips were for the main purpose of picking up a prescription, with a similar percentage being for the main purpose of picking up over-the-counter healthcare products. Nearly half of drug stores sales are from quick trips.

About the Report
Findings presented in Times & Trends: “Shopping Trip Missions: A New Avenue for Growth,” are based upon an assessment of consumer purchase behavior across six million trips captured over a 52 week period utilizing IRI Shopper Insights™, Acxiom Personicx® and IRI Consumer Network™. IRI Trip Typology™ Reports offer additional insight into trip mission-based growth opportunities for a specific brand, category or retailer. For an in-depth view of the full Times & Trends report, click on

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