What’s the difference – shopper vs consumer?

The person who shops for/buys products is not always the same person who uses that product, unless I’m missing a trick here and Butcher’s tripe wet dog food is a great snack…

In other words, a Shopper is someone who finds and buys a product or service whereas a Consumer is the person who makes use of them i.e., the one who actually eats the food or wears the clothes.

The point is, if the shopper is not always the consumer of products, then there is certainly a need for a distinction between shopper research and consumer research. As the distinction between the shopper and consumer is not always as obvious as dog food, getting the research right is imperative for brands to build effective marketing campaigns.

Shopper vs Consumer insights

Shopper Insights teams use data related to distribution, retailer dynamics, promotional activity, and in-store experiences to influence their business’ sales and marketing efforts where shoppers buy (e.g., in-store or online).

Consumer Insights teams typically work more closely with brand image, consumer preferences, category trends, and other research that could influence their marketing (above and below the line).

To put it more simply, shopper insights are all about the how, when, and what when it comes to purchases – How often do they buy this product? Does the shopper also come to this store for this product? The goal of shopper research is typically to establish the category management and sales teams as an expert to drive the store’s retail strategy

Whereas consumer insights are set to answer more of the why questions – why do they feel this way about a certain brand vs competitor? What stood out on shelf? What emotions were elicited? Brand teams work with Consumer Insights to create products and messaging that align with these consumer needs.

Both Shopper and Consumer research are important

At Spark Emotions, we value both shopper and consumer insights and know how crucial they can be for brand growth, but we especially like to focus on the why. We dig that little bit deeper to extract the real reasons behind consumer behaviour and we do this through a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies – have a look at what we do by clicking the image below.

Our areas of expertise

Our expert team of consumer psychologists and industry leaders will help you unearth the real insights of your shoppers and consumers. To find out how we’ve helped our clients uncover the truth, click here to read our case studies.

Otherwise, the team would love to hear from you to see how we can help you grow your business, click here to get in touch.

Related articles:

If you found our Shoppers vs Consumers blog interesting and want to understand more about shopper or consumer research, then read one of our articles below on Why are we drawn to faces on Point of Sale? or our article on The importance of touch for shoppers?

Why are we drawn to faces on Point of Sale?

The importance of touch for shoppers


Written by Evie Harris-Jenkins, Research Executive at Spark Emotions.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Evie via email evie.harris-jenkins@sparkemotions.com or connect on LinkedIn

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