One third of all oil category shoppers fail to make a purchase, even though 90% had intended to.
The revelation comes in the first of our new regular series of category evaluations which will be made after interviews with shoppers in major stores across the UK.
The survey also shows that half of all shoppers were willing to switch immediately to another brand or product if their usual choice was out of stock, so there can be few reasons for non-purchase.
However, there was little switching between own label and brand and one in 10 shoppers said that passing the category provided a reminder to buy.
A high intention to buy should lead to a high rate of conversion to sale if the category is working to maximum efficiency. So why the high level of non-purchase?
There was a difference in behaviour between shoppers for cooking oils and shoppers for specialist oils. The cooking oils category, containing the fryers' like brand and own label sunflower and vegetable oils, was found to be efficient.
Shoppers understood the brand and product offers and bought quickly and efficiently, despite products sometimes merchandised in poor shelf locations.
Of the 17% that bought own label only 4% considered a brand alternative.
Shoppers knew what they wanted and many purchases were made within 15 seconds.
In contrast. the average time spent buying specialist oils, was 35 seconds. This sub-category is dominated by own label and branded olive oils and contains oils such as walnut.
The longest shop took more than six minutes, when the shopper studied six products in detail before making a selection.
This is not a category where shoppers want to invest much time. Informed shoppers want to buy quickly, uninformed shoppers wanted guidance to make relevant brand and product comparisons easily.
Specialist oils brands seemed to have similar products and visual identities and lacked differentiating factors that would gave shoppers a reason to buy. They found this sub-segment confusing and lack of guidance prompted some shoppers to postpone purchase.
Successful shoppers (purchasers) were satisfied with the level of delivery. The specialist oils sub-segment had a range and choice that was enjoyable to shop and met their requirements. The 20-30% of non-purchasers who needed more guidance to help them select from the category came away in a negative shopping mood.