Evolution Insights

Evolution Insights estimates the UK top-up market at £73.2bn in 2009

Press Release   •   Feb 05, 2010 16:10 GMT

Latest research conducted by shopper marketing consultancy Evolution Insights has valued the top-up market at £73.2bn in 2009, representing 52% of total expenditure in UK food and grocery. According to the research the market has outperformed overall food and grocery between 2006 and 2009 and Evolution predicts this performance will continue during 2010.

Evolution Insights Analyst James Johnson comments “the top-up mission is becoming increasingly important as shoppers lifestyles alter to reflect shifting working patterns and a growing demand for fresh food. Manufacturers can sometimes fall short in their understanding of the motivations and behaviours of top-up shoppers and as such are missing the full potential of the opportunity.”

In its comprehensive survey, Evolution quizzed a representative sample of 1,000 top-up shoppers about their top-up shopping habits. Asked when they did their most recent trip, 87% of shoppers said they had done at least one top-up in the previous fortnight, with almost all (98%) respondents saying they have topped-up at some point in the past.

The study finds that supermarkets play a hugely important role alongside c-stores for the top-up shopper. Evolution reveals that only 30% of shoppers used a c-store for their most recent top-up trip, with the Big Four main stores commanding a 56% share. The finding contrasts the widely held view that convenience stores are principal territory of the top-up shopper, and highlights the importance of the top-up shopper across all different channels of distribution.

The typical shopper was also found to top-up 1.5 times a week, spending on average £14 per trip. Fresh food dominates, with more than 80% of shoppers seeking to replenish basic fresh items on their most recent trip. Yet while the majority of top-up shoppers have a good idea of what they want before they enter the store, only 22% use a shopping list and 41% do not stick to a budget. Despite the typically time constrained and focused nature of the top-up trip, Evolution believes there are significant opportunities for FMCGs and retailers who seek to target the top-up shopper in-store through tailored shopper marketing.

Evolution Insights is a research led consultancy specialising in shopper marketing. They deliver original research, analysis and insight into shopper motivations and behaviour for manufacturers, retailers and agencies.