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Analysing retail consumer data can help us to better understand the industry in terms of business resilience, customer mobility and changing buying habits.

Our researchers work in collaboration with leading retailers to produce a highly detailed picture of patterns of consumer behaviour that is relevant to businesses, academia and wider society.

Observing Consumer Online Word of Mouth On Social Media Under Scarcity

Investigating the online discourse around financial hardship and product shortages on social media, this research aims to reveal the nuanced ways the cost-of-living crisis and supply chain disruptions affect public sentiment and well-being, highlighting a need for targeted interventions to support those most vulnerable.

Improving access to healthy and sustainable diets for customers of major food retailers

Since 2020, in collaboration with IGD, we have run a series of behaviour change trials with four major UK retailers (Asda, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Lidl).

These trials have tested a range of interventions reaching millions of shoppers with the intention of improving the public’s access to healthy and sustainable diets.

Our expertise was used to scope, shape, implement and evaluate the trials, which have helped the food industry make changes that positively affect the health of shoppers at retailers across the UK

Supporting compliance and enforcement of HFSS legislation

In October 2022, to coincide with the launch of new restrictions on product placement for some high fat, salt or sugar products, the CDRC launched the Nutrient Profile Model Calculator.

We launched the calculator to help users, particularly SMEs, convenience stores and enforcement officers, to identify whether a product is in scope for restrictions, supporting compliance and enforcement.

The NPM calculator offers a free to use mobile-friendly tool which makes HFSS assessment simple and transparent.

How can supermarket delivery vehicle routing be optimised?

Supermarkets must transport large quantities of stock from depots to many different stores on a daily basis. It is important to deliver this stock efficiently, in order to minimise both transport costs and carbon emissions.

This project aimed to investigate methods to optimise the routing of supermarket delivery vehicles. The project used the most basic delivery strategy, by which only one store is serviced during each trip from the depot, as a benchmark for comparison with the optimised delivery vehicle routing solutions.

Assessing the presence of e-food deserts in the UK

The e-food deserts index (EFDI) is a multi-dimensional composite index for GB which measures the extent to which neighbourhoods exhibit characteristics associated with food deserts across four key drivers of groceries accessibility:

· Proximity and density of grocery retail facilities
· Transport and accessibility
· Neighbourhood socio-economic and demographic characteristics
· E-commerce availability and propensity

Tackling Food Waste with Asda

It is estimated that one-third of edible food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally each year. In the UK, food waste derived from households accounts for 7.3 million tonnes of total food and drink wasted annually. UK households throw away approximately a third of the food they purchase for consumption.

In a bid to tackle this problem, CDRC Co-investigator Professor William Young and his team at the University of Leeds joined with Asda to implement a multichannel initiative aimed at changing customer attitudes and behaviour.

What does supermarket loyalty card data reveal about food purchase behaviours?

Supermarkets gather loyalty card data for marketing purposes but these novel data sources offer great potential for research and policy making.

Loyalty card transaction records, linked to back of pack nutrient information, present a novel opportunity to use objective records of food purchases to assess diet at a household level.

These projects, in partnership with Sainsbury’s, explore the use of transaction data to understand the food purchasing behaviours of our population.

Understanding e-commerce channel use in the grocery market

The UK Grocery e-commerce industry is amongst the most developed in the world with an estimated value of £11.4 Billion in 2018 with grocery e-commerce sales accounting for 7.2% of all fast-moving consumer goods sales in the UK.

The proliferation of new retail channels such as home delivery and click and collect has resulted in a more complex set of omni-channel interactions between consumers and retailers.

These complex interactions give rise to strategic challenges for retailers, notably to retail location planning teams who are responsible for predicting consumer demand and managing resources accordingly.

Paramount for retailers in addressing these challenges is an understanding of who their consumers are, which channel(s) they are likely to use and where they live.

Do only affluent consumers buy green labelled products?

Combining sales and demographic data can provide better insight into consumer behaviour. Much evidence on consumer buying behaviour and sustainability issues relies on attitudinal, self-reported or national sales data. This is often not close enough to real behaviour nor helpful at a company level.

With access to sales and demographic data, we are able to see the detail at a geographical, product or consumer type level that can only help decision making. But this can only be done through exciting collaborations across sectors.

The Consumer Data Research Centre, Asda and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit) came together to explore if there are links between the affluence of consumers and green-labelled products they buy.

UK Footfall Index

With the availability of detailed footfall data we also want to know the general national trend of footfall on retail high streets. Such national ’footfall index’ is not only important for the retail industry but also for various other purposes such as policy making, economic forecasting, etc.

The Footfall Index is devised by the Consumer Research Data Centre (CDRC) in association with the Local Data Company (LDC).

Why some retail centres out perform others

Research by the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) uses a number of indicators to determine how retail centres across Great Britain perform.

Using new retail centre boundaries (these retail centre boundaries are an updated version of the DCLG town centre boundaries developed in 2004) for over 3,000 centres in Britain, their catchments and a multidimensional typology (Fig 1),  the CDRC’s research identifies some interesting trends.

The Application of Rasch Measurement Theory to Guide Consumer Product Design

Procter & Gamble is one of the largest consumer goods companies worldwide – specialising in a range of healthcare, homecare and hygiene products. Consumer research is essential to inform product design and development, and Procter & Gamble have a large amount of data in the form of consumer surveys.

To analyse this data, classic methods involve statistical modelling in order to spot the overall patterns and trends. In this project, we instead apply Rasch measurement theory (RMT) to the survey data, which is capable of extracting a richer set of information than classic methods