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Inside Retail & Focus Insights

Focus Insights’ 2021 Grocery Shopper Report

In the course of conducting research for the FMCG industry, it’s not uncommon for questions to arise that would be of great interest to a broad range of stakeholders, whilst not necessarily justifying a deep-dive study in themselves.

When market research and consumer insights agency Focus Insights found itself repeatedly questioned on these kinds of information points within the grocery category, it decided to give something back to its regular clients and commission its own Grocery Shopper Report. Now in its second year, Focus Insights’ Grocery Shopper Report presents its findings to anyone with an interest in the industry, without charge.

“Last year we kept getting asked a lot of macro-level questions from our clients about things like, what’s going on with plant-based meat alternatives,” says Focus Insights CEO Deane Hubball. “Are people doing more top-up shops versus main shops, that sort of thing. So we saw the opportunity to do a very broad-based market review of the grocery channel. Obviously, we haven’t been able to answer every question we get asked, but we had enough to pull together a 15-minute study – you could call it the 50 most popular questions in the grocery industry.”

Hubball set up Focus Insights just a few years ago after his background on the supplier side of FMCG saw him heavily immersed in data and research. With the increasing need for suppliers to make better data-led informed decisions, he saw sufficient white space in the marketplace to provide more agile and cost-effective research solutions for companies.

“We’re coming in and taking that space, in terms of providing agile research that’s customised to their needs,” explains Hubball. Our solutions are very much tailored to the exact requirements of the customer, in terms of content, costs and timing. The digital nature of our business really gives us a scale and breadth of service that we can offer anywhere, to any customer around the globe.” 

Focus Insights has access to more than 64 million people around the world in 94 countries. This extensive reach can be leveraged to help Australian companies deeply understand all their existing and target markets.

“The biggest change to consumer research has been digitisation,” says Hubball. “We instantaneously connect via our back end and technology partners to access people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. By using technology to do the heavy lifting, we can ensure that the people we’re talking to are representative of that target market or population.”

The Focus Insights 2021 Grocery Shopper Report covers a spectrum of general findings, from pandemic-led changes in consumer behaviour and a surge in demand for home-grown Australian products through to the general demise of cash, especially amongst younger buyers. The report confirms that while home or office deliveries have doubled over last year’s figures, 81.8 per cent of consumers still prefer in-store shopping; it also finds that the use of cash to pay for groceries has declined roughly 16 per cent since last year, with credit and debit cards still being the preferred payment method.

Questions on plant-based meats showed an increasing volume of consumer interest in meat alternatives – “About 23.7 per cent of consumers have purchased plant-based meat alternatives in the last six months,” says Hubball, “which is up 15 per cent from a year ago, and the biggest driver is that people are interested in trying it out. People who I would have thought would never eat a vegan burger are now saying, I wouldn’t mind giving this a try.”

While Grocery 2021 is a summary report that talks about top-line trends and insights, the agency has collected thousands of data points in the process of creating it.

“One of the things that we’re encouraging our existing and new clients to do is get in touch with us if they want to drill further and deeper into the study,” says Hubball. “We have the ability to slice and dice these findings into more granular or targeted insights, such as comparing Coles shoppers versus Aldi shoppers, Millennials versus Baby Boomers and so on.”

To connect with Focus Insights or request a copy of the 2021 Grocery Shopper report visit