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Global Snack-Buyers Get Territorial
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Global Snack-Buyers Get Territorial

Snacks seem to be available almost everywhere we shop. While grocery, convenience and warehouse club stores have long been snack purveyors, they’re not the only outlets that woo our taste buds with treats. Drug stores, discount stores and specialty stores are increasingly stocking their shelves with impulse-tempting snack options. Since 58% of global respondents in a recent Nielsen global snacking survey say that most of their snack purchases are unplanned, it makes good business sense to have snacks at the ready and within arm’s reach. In a global marketplace, where retail channel options and shopping habits can vary greatly, how do our go-to snack destinations differ around the world?

In Asia-Pacific, the online respondents in our survey are most likely to shop evenly across three different retail outlets, and regionally, their favorite snacks include chocolate, fresh fruit, vegetables and cookies/biscuits. The top three go-to snack retailers among respondents in Asia-Pacific are mass merchandisers/hypermarkets (47%), grocery stores (44%) and convenience stores (36%). Almost one-fourth of respondents (24%) shop most often for snacks in small neighborhood stores, and 18% shop in specialty stores.

In Europe, snacking favorites include refrigerated items, such as fresh fruit, cheese, yogurt and vegetables, so it’s no surprise that more than half of respondents (53%) shop most often for snacks in grocery stores, followed by mass merchandiser/hypermarkets (41%). About one-fifth (22%) buy snacks most often in convenience stores, 15% in small neighborhood stores and 14% in discount dollar stores.

In the Middle East/Africa, grocery stores are the main source for snacks among the largest number of online respondents in our survey (48%) in the region, followed by 37% who shop in mass merchandiser/hypermarkets. Top snacking picks include fresh fruit, chocolate, bread/sandwich and potato chips/tortilla chips/crisps. Three in 10 online respondents shop in small neighborhood stores and 26% opt most often for both convenience and specialty stores.

In Latin America, refrigerated items, such as yogurt, cheese and ice cream, are top regional snack preferences, making grocery stores a resounding favorite retail store for snacks, with 67% of online respondents making this outlet their destination of choice. Mass merchandiser/hypermarkets (44%), convenience stores (32%), small neighborhood stores (30%) and warehouse club stores (27%) are shopped most often by fewer respondents.

In North America, it’s common for shoppers to stock up on grocery purchases during a weekly shopping trip, which may account for why respondents say they shop grocery stores most often for snacks by the widest margin of any region—64%, compared with 30% who shop at mass merchandiser/hypermarkets. The wide variety of snacks typically found in grocery stores also syncs up with the top regional choices, which include potato chips/tortilla chips/crisps, chocolate, cheese and cookies/biscuits.

The global snacking report also discusses:

  • Snack sales and the types of products driving global growth.
  • Profiles of snack-buyers and the factors that lead them to purchase.
  • Strategies and trends that will shape the future of snacking.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Survey of Snacking.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.