Marketing to Grocery Shopper Demographics with Retail DOOH 

November 20, 2023

More advertisers are incorporating digital out-of-home (DOOH) in their strategies — DOOH ad revenue is expected to increase 57% by 2028. As media planners form out-of-home strategies that will wow their clients, one big question is “where can I reach the right audience?” 

One type of place-based DOOH that is highly valuable (but can be often overlooked) is retail media advertising in grocery stores. There are some misconceptions about the demographics that make up the typical supermarket crowd, but grocery DOOH can unlock a captive audience who is receptive to product information, both from brands in the store and ones located nearby. 

DOOH advertising in grocery stores 

Digital out-of-home advertising in grocery and retail stores involves advertising screens owned by retail media networks. Some retailers own their own networks, largely utilizing the space to advertise their own brand and inventory. There are also independent DOOH networks that partner with retailers, such as adPlanet Retail Media Group which offers a fleet of ad screens on the ubiquitous Coinstar kiosks in major retailers all throughout the US.  

The benefits of DOOH itself carry over to grocery media, including the ability to display dynamic creative and to purchase ad placements programmatically through a demand-side platform (DSP). Because it’s more technologically advanced than traditional OOH, DOOH also offers precisely accurate measurement capabilities that give advertisers more confidence in their ad spend and reach.  

For grocery DOOH, another advantage is that retail media networks provide access to large inventories with massive reach, such as all a retailer’s stores throughout the country or, in adPlanet’s case, placement across multiple retailers’ stores. 

Dispelling misconceptions about the grocery audience 

While the grocery store audience is a perfect fit for many brands, many media buyers have certain perceptions that lead them to look elsewhere for more “glamorous” placements. Misguided assumptions about the grocery demographic involve who actually shops in person at stores and how they react to the advertising they’re exposed to while there. 

Misconception: “Everyone grocery shops online.” 

The majority of Americans still do their monthly grocery shopping at the store – 69% of consumers shop in person. On average, only 16% of people use grocery delivery, and 6% report using curbside or pickup.  

The pandemic caused an increase in digital shopping in 2020, but online grocery orders are on the decline toward pre-pandemic levels. In-person grocery shopping is still very much the norm. The monthly or weekly grocery trip presents a unique opportunity to reach a wide range of consumers with out-of-home messaging. 

Misconception: “There’s too much advertising noise at grocery stores.” 

It’s true that shoppers are hit with many different brand messages when they step foot in a grocery store, and consumers can be fatigued by advertising. However, the grocery store is one place where people seek out product information to make the best purchase choices. In fact, 77% of consumers find digital out-of-home messaging “very” or “quite” informative. Advertisers can cut through the noise and win over shoppers with the right message at the right time.  

Often, it’s a matter of ad creative and placement that determines the impact. Brands can advertise on adPlanet with dynamic video on an HD screen that sits on top of the 6.5 foot tall Coinstar kiosk visible from 50 feet away. This enables brands to grab shoppers’ attention and literally stand out above other in-store messaging.  

Misconception: “Grocery shoppers don’t include my target demographic.” 

Some media buyers have perceptions of the grocery store audience related to things like income level, gender, and age that don’t align with their targeting strategy. Many brands adPlanet works with are initially concerned about the audience that our screens reach being placed on Coinstar kiosks, often thought of as the place for frugal coin-counting consumers. This is a similar view many advertisers have of the grocery audience at large too.  

In reality, grocery store demographics vary widely, and we’ll explore those demographics in-depth in the next section. Likewise, the audience that is exposed to adPlanet’s screens varies widely as well, and it includes all customers in the store not just those using the kiosk.  

Advertisers can also target certain segments with DOOH placements based on specific screen locations within a store. For example, our screens that sit on top of the kiosks reach a different audience than our user interface screens that Coinstar customers interact with directly. 

Grocery shopper demographics 

Everybody needs groceries. But who does the grocery shopping? Let’s get more specific and look at grocery shopper insights across 3 key criteria.  

  • Gender: Of households with children, 80% of women and 20% of men claim to be the primary shopper. The numbers shift slightly for households without children to 77% and 23% respectively. A more revealing lens to look through for gender demographics, however, is who will be in the store at any given time. It turns out that on any given day, 39.4% of women and 33.7% of men shop, meaning in-store advertising can reach a much more diverse audience than mothers getting weekly family groceries.  
  • Age: The average age of grocery shoppers in the US is 44 years old, but people of all ages regularly visit the store and have their own ways of shopping. Looking at grocery spending statistics, Generation X (born 1965 – 1980) spends the most at the grocery store compared to other generations. Interestingly, Millennials (born 1981 – 1996) are the most likely to grocery shop online instead of in person, compared to all generations including Gen Z (born 1997 – 2012). However, even the groups that are more likely to shop online expect an omnichannel experience and can be reached effectively by integrating both in-person and online channels. 
  • Income level: People of all income levels can be found in grocery stores – one major difference is how frequently they shop. Nearly half of US households with income over $100,000 go grocery shopping 2 to 3 times per week. On the other end, 15% of households with income under $20,000 grocery shop only once per month or less. However, across all income levels, shopping once per week tends to be most common. Another major difference across income levels is which retailers they choose to shop at, which can be addressed with a targeted DOOH strategy. 

The demographic makeup of grocery shoppers isn’t black and white. Advertisers can reach a wide range of consumers with in-store DOOH and can connect with their desired audience by targeting the right retailers, locations, and timing. Even with the growth of digital shopping, many buyers are still in the store, and the venue shouldn’t be overlooked by brands trying to connect with them. 

Consumer behavior while grocery shopping 

Aside from who makes up the category, equally important is their grocery shopping behavior as consumers and as an advertising audience. Because these consumers are already in a buying mindset, they are much more receptive to advertising and information about products and services.  

And this is not limited to products that may be in a grocery store – we’ve found that advertisers in a wide range of industries, such as financial services, automotive, and telecommunications, resonate with these purchase-ready shoppers.  

In addition to strong buying intent, this demographic’s attention span puts DOOH advertisers at an advantage too. Viewer dwell time gets a boost at certain points on the shopper journey, such as standing idle in an aisle comparing products or waiting patiently in the checkout line. adPlanet’s DOOH screens capture this opportunity of waiting in line, very often being located at the front of the store near checkout or in other areas near the customer service desk. 

Engage with a diverse and purchase-ready audience 

The receptive and attentive nature of shoppers in their element makes grocery and retail DOOH a prime opportunity for brands of all kinds. If you’re an advertiser or media buyer looking to make an impact with the largest grocery and retail DOOH network, contact the adPlanet team to learn more. 

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