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Report: Impulse purchases driving retail growth

The Global Market Development Center, or GMDC, has uncovered three product categories driving growth for retailers.

Impulse purchases are a main key differentiator for brick-and-mortar locations, and the organization also suggests retailers narrow their scope to best meet shoppers ever-changing needs.

“Online retailers typically underperform with impulse categories, as most shoppers plan their online purchases,” Mark Mechelse, VP of insights and communications for GMDC, said. “Most, if not all, online shopping is highly focused on price and value, and cannot deliver the immersive experience as that of a store and its associates. This is key for brick-and-mortar retailers to understand, as impulse purchases generally hold higher profit margins among all store merchandise.”

The three categories seeing continual store growth — books, trial and travel and grilling — represent the most common impulse purchases.

Stores also are reporting an increase in the sale of physical books, with 85% of print and print book units moving up 14% since 2012. Surprisingly enough, millennials are the largest book-buying demographic, counting for 37% of all purchases.

Trial and travel growth can also be attributed to the need for constant travel, but also due to such rentals as Airbnb hosts purchasing products for their guests.

Grilling, on the other hand, is on the rise with 65% of grillers reporting activity since 2015, the study states. The off-season growth for the category accounted for 97% of total category sales growth.

“As organizations strive to reinvent their strategies and tactics in the face of disruption, retailers and their partners need to know that data are not insights, although data is fundamental,” Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC, said. “Leveraging data, layered with consumer understanding and shopper knowledge, leads to a process of converting information into action which drives greater sales. This report demonstrates how simple and transforming that can be.”
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