Black Friday: Just an Appetizer for Walmart

BlackFriday2015_Walmart Banner@2x


It’s late November and that means three things: ironic mustaches are reaching their peak, holiday decorations are (finally) becoming seasonally appropriate and retailers are jockeying to be the preferred Black Friday destination for deal-seeking shoppers. In recent years, that has meant opening earlier and extending Black Friday doorbusters into the weekend and beyond.


But do stores actually benefit by extending their Black Friday deals, or are they merely spreading out the week’s sales? To answer that question, we zeroed in on two key retailers, Target and Walmart. Our team analyzed millions of receipts from the past two Black Fridays, and followed each retailer’s share-of-wallet across key categories.


BlackFriday2015_TargetShareOfWallet2014@2xIn 2014, Target focused its attention on the week leading up to Black Friday, with 30-60% off select items all week. The main event was on Friday, when Target offered 10% off gift cards for the first time ever (Friday Only). As a result, Target increased its share-of-wallet during the week before Black Friday and on the day itself, but lost share during the following week when their deals ended.
Walmart did not change its hours of operation in 2014, and extended its Black Friday deals throughout the following week, gaining share during that time. Despite not having any special events in the week before Black Friday, Walmart saw share gains here as well.



BlackFriday2015_WalmartShareOfWallet2014@2xWhile Target was able to gain share by bringing savings to the consumer first and offering discounted gift cards, it paid for it in the following week when Walmart’s promotions were just getting started. Target shoppers seemed to recognize when the deals had moved on, and many of them moved on with them. Walmart’s strategy of extending its promotion into December seems to flow more naturally into the rest of the Holiday shopping season, allowing the retailer to avoid any painful dips in sales.


So, does it pay to extend Black Friday deals? That all depends on whether you view the shopping holiday as dessert, or just an appetizer.

InfoScout clients named Category Captains by Progressive Grocer Magazine


The InfoScout team extends a hearty congratulations to our clients and partners who were recently recognized as the 2015 Category Captains by Progressive Grocer. In its 19th year, this award honors CPG companies for “category management prowess, demonstrated through their partnerships with grocery retailers.”


InfoScout clients Abbott Nutrition, Anheuser-Busch, General Mills, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble each received the highest award of “Category Captain,” with Coca-Cola also receiving accolades as a “Category Advisor.” We’re honored to work alongside these industry leaders!


As Progressive Grocer notes, “the concept of category management is undergoing a historic transformation. The cutting-edge concepts that emerged some 20 years ago are being rewritten to take better advantage of the advancements in data collecting, technology and shopper marketing that have emerged in the past two decades.” Through our massive purchase panel and our InfoScout Insights™ platform, we are proud to support the innovative companies spearheading this transformation.


Here is the breakdown of the Category Captain awards winners:


Learn more about each winner and the reasons that got them the title in Progressive Grocer’s November 2015 issue.

Shoppers Have Already Made Gift Purchases Ahead of Black Friday

Yesterday, we asked our panelists how they are preparing their holiday gift shopping, going into what is undoubtedly the most important shopping event of the year: Black Friday.

To our surprise, the majority (66%) answered that they’ve already bought their first gift. Only (12.8%) say that they’ll be buying their first gifts of the season during Black Friday Weekend.

A factor at play here might be the fact that every year, special sales events happen before Black Friday, like Sam’s Club pre-Black Friday sale last weekend.

What type of gifts are shoppers getting this early in the season, and for whom? Over half of those gift purchases (53%) were considered the primary gift for the recipient. So these early buyers aren’t just accumulating stocking suffers, they’ve already knocked off some of the most significant items on their list, Of those recipients, 56% were children and 44% adults.

Also of note is that 46% of those early gift purchases made by our panelists were made online. This is a noticeably high number when compared to the normal ratio that online sales have against brick & mortar stores, which either indicates that early holiday shoppers tend to shop online, or that online retailers are in for a very healthy 2015 holiday season.


About the data:

The insights for this writing are powered by a pre-Black Friday survey completed on November 17, 2015 by 250 of our over 300,000 active panelists. To find out more about this shopping season, stay tuned for our real-time coverage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Press contact for additional insights or data to support custom stories: CJ Acosta

Client contact for real-time insights throughout the holiday shopping season: Ben Ahn

Samsung, PS4 and iPad Win with Consumers at Sam’s Club pre-Black Friday Sale

On Saturday, November 14th, Sam’s Club held its first sale of the holiday shopping season. An early ‘leak‘ of the day’s deals had delighted shoppers taking to online forums to debate which ones were the best. With 4,272 Sam’s Club shopping receipts from Saturday’s sale submitted to InfoScout through our nationally representative panel of over 300,000 Americans, we decided to tally the votes based on which deals shoppers actually bought.



The most outstanding performance goes to Samsung which sold 1.5-times as many TV’s as its nearest competitor: Vizio. Samsung led the charge with a ‘sound bar bundle’ that seemed to resonate a lot with consumers. We’ve previously seen the effectiveness of this ‘bundling’ technique being used for game console sales.


Speaking of bundles and games, the PlayStation 4 bundle with the ‘Uncharted: The Nathan Series Collection’ game sold more than three times as many consoles as the Xbox One bundle which included an extra controller.


Apple’s iPad Air 2 edged HP Notebooks by a 3-to-2 margin within the converging category of laptops and tablets. The iPad Mini, by contrast, barely even registered in comparison.


The real winner here was Sam’s Club which saw a significant increase in shopping trips and gained a 4% in its share of wallet among known Sam’s Club shoppers when compared to the same Saturday one-year ago. To find out if Sam’s Club just shifted sales a bit earlier in the season versus actually increasing their overall share of the Christmas shopping season, stay tuned for our real-time coverage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Press contact for additional insights or data to support custom stories: CJ Acosta

Client contact for real-time insights throughout the holiday shopping season: Ben Ahn

100 Million Shopping Trips and Counting



ORLANDO, FL – November 4th, 2015 – InfoScout announced today at THE Market Research Event that it has processed 100,000,000 shopping receipts submitted by consumers using the company’s portfolio of mobile apps.


“When we launched our first app in 2012, our goal was to leverage the full benefits of smartphones to rethink what a consumer purchase panel should be like in the 21st century,” said Jon Brelig, co-founder and CTO. “By developing a portfolio of apps that engage diverse types of people with unique experiences, we’ve been able to quickly build the largest and most representative panel in America.”


InfoScout now processes more than 300,000 shopping trips per day across all retailers, in-store and online – more than legacy panel providers capture in an entire month. In addition, the company will soon surpass 100,000 yearlong ‘static’ panelists – 50% more than their nearest competitor.


“In the two-years I’ve been working with InfoScout, I’ve been impressed by their rapid growth – not only in their panel size, but also in the number of clients whose brands they help grow,” said Joan Lewis, Procter & Gamble’s recently retired SVP of Consumer and Market Knowledge. “In my nearly 30 years in the insights industry, InfoScout has brought the most innovative solutions and fastest growth in individual-level insights.”


In the last year, InfoScout has added more than 50 retailer and consumer goods clients leveraging its InfoScout Insights™ analytics platform, consulting services, and in-the-moment triggered surveys to derive deeper shopper and consumer insights.


According to Jared Schrieber, InfoScout’s co-founder and CEO,

“It’s no coincidence that our 100-millionth receipt was an e-receipt from, of a digital format book, about a sci-fi future, sold for ‘free’ through a Prime subscription. Retail is changing rapidly and this receipt is indicative of the macro-waves we are riding to disrupt a monopolized industry that’s sought profits over progress for far too long.”


As part of this milestone, the team dug into the 100,000,000 receipts and found some intriguing metrics. Here is a sample of them:

Shopper Insights vs. Consumer Insights – The Difference



If you work in any of these functions, you get asked A LOT (by colleagues, family, friends, etc.) what the difference is between the similarly named roles. We thought it might be helpful for you to have a quick link to answer their questions, and provide some context.

The most basic and simple difference between Shopper Insights and Consumer Insights is the subject of study: the ‘shopper’ or the ‘consumer’.


When you are at the supermarket choosing which steak to buy, and how much of it you want, you are in ‘shopping mode’. When at home grilling that same steak on a sunny Sunday afternoon, beer in hand, you are in ‘consumption mode’. At InfoScout, we see people throughout the path-to-purchase in both roles. Based on the questions we answer for our clients, we find ourselves well positioned to offer three of the biggest differences between these functions in the CPG industry:

  1. “In the store” vs. “In the wild”

Shopper Insights cares about what happens in the store and anything immediately related to it.  Somewhat of a ‘shopping experience’ measurement. They want to know on ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ people spend their money. Did the shopper go to several retailers in the shopping trip? Were they exposed to a circular publication before going into the store? Did they use a coupon? This knowledge allows them to work hand in hand with retailers and even other manufacturers to motivate shoppers and grow their product category.

Consumer Insights, on the other hand, is focused more on the ‘brand experience’, no matter where it happens. Regardless of where and how the person gets product, they want to know how the brand is perceived, what emotions it evokes and the need states that it fulfills. These data fuels initiatives like product innovations and changes in how the brand markets itself. These types of insights help marketers make better decisions on subjects like where to spend their advertising money and what product to launch next.


  1. Sales Focus vs. Human Focus

Shopper Insights roles are often tied to a company’s sales structure. The practice of Shopper Marketing was born when marketers learned a few decades ago that consumers can be influenced when they are in the process of shopping through materials like flyers, signage and displays in the store.

In contrast, Consumer Insights cares about what human beings are doing as a whole. The trends and insights beyond the purchase decision. Brands teams need consumer insights that enable them to create products and messaging aligned with consumer needs.


  1. Pushes Product vs. Pulls Product

Shopper Insights gives the team the tools for “pushing” more products into the hands of shoppers. This can be done by leveraging shopper marketing initiatives like product co-promotions and discounts. The idea is to make their products the one a shopper wants to get because it is a “better deal” (note: not necessarily because of price). A good example would be a “buy 2 get 1” chocolate bar promotion. Shopper Insights focuses on finding what delights the ‘person who buys’ and how to get them to buy more.

Consumer Insights professionals help the company figure out how the consumer thinks and what motivates them to go for a brand or product. Their goal is to compel consumers to look for the product and “pull” it from the store. Get them to want it because of an ad they saw or because a friend recommended it.



We hope that this write-up helps your friends and colleagues understand the nuances of your trade. Have any suggestions or additions to the points we’ve made? Reach out to us and we will be more than happy to include them and make it even easier for everyone to grasp what you do.

American Beer: What is Craft Beer?

The second in a series where InfoScout dives into beer purchase data. In the first article we focused on how Millennials are changing the industry. In this one we look into what shoppers conceive as ‘craft beer’.




In the first article of this series we discovered how the times are a-changin’ for the consumption of beer in this country. The Millenial generation seems to be shifting the country’s taste from mainstream lagers to more complex and robust craft beers. But the data from those lapsed shoppers showed that it was mostly Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s and Shock Top picking up the slack. All of these craft brands belong to either Anheuser-Busch InBev or MillerCoors. Although these ‘craft’ beers may taste far different than their ‘premium’ counterparts, they are still owned (and often manufactured) by the very companies that Millennials seemingly eschew.


Mainstream lagers have long dominated the market since the repeal of Prohibition. Fueled by an aftershock of the Temperance movement, Americans became complacent with lighter flavored lagers for decades. However, the 1990s brought small-batch ‘craft’ alternatives to the market, which featured more pronounced flavors. Premium beer manufacturers took note. They knew they couldn’t change their existing lighter tasting beers without alienating older, loyal generations. Instead, they started secretly buying or manufacturing their own craft beers, capturing a younger segment of the market not content with drinking what they consider to be less than full-flavored.


But we are left with a very important question: What constitutes ‘craft beer’? Is it the size of the brewer? Is it the taste of the beer?


We hypothesized that consumers might not be paying attention to the size of the operation as much as the taste of the beer itself. The only way to test this hypothesis is to directly ask consumers what they think, and our trigger survey capabilities allowed us to do just that.


First, we assessed the degree to which a beer’s popularity and a beer’s parent company matters when it comes to craft beer. Consumers indicated that these factors were only of middling importance; just 7% and 11% (respectively) indicated that these factors are very important.


Shopper Opinion On the Label


But when asked about flavor and ingredients, we observed a stark contrast. Consumers feel that taste and ingredients are of paramount importance when it comes to making up a craft brew with these factors getting an 81% and a 31% percent respectively.


Shopper Opinion In the Bottle


Blue Moon provides an illuminating example into the situation at hand. It is a Belgian white beer manufactured by MillerCoors, and it is marketed as a craft beer due to its taste and ingredients, which include coriander and orange peel. Some brewers disagree, however, about whether Blue Moon can be labeled as ‘craft’ when it is brewed by such a massive institution. These brewers have brought a class-action lawsuit against MillerCoors, claiming the company uses deceptive marketing tactics to persuade consumers to buy what they would deem to be ‘inauthentic craft’.In general, most people placed very little importance on the size of the breweries or parent company. This works in favor for big beer conglomerates who don’t want their huge business size to be seen as hindrance for being crafty.


But it also works in favor of small time brewers who can let their products do the talking without the need for big brand budgets. Curiously enough, when measuring “brand strength” among the craft beer brands, we introduced our very own (and very non-existent) brand of craft beer: “Concentric Brewing” which managed to get “recognized” by 18% of survey participants as “Definitely Craft” (up there with Guiness and Lagunitas):




As startup people we can’t agree enough with craft beer shoppers: A carefully crafted product makes all the difference.


Want to learn more about what we are crafting at InfoScout that makes it easy to produce insights like these? Get in touch!


American Beer: Millennials are Changing How the Country Drinks Beer

InfoScout dives into beer purchase data to show that Millennials are more likely to defect from premium beer to craft beers


Craft Beer Shelfie


With nearly 100 million shopping trips recorded, and almost as many lines of code written, our team at InfoScout has created the best way to meticulously measure the consumer’s path to purchase.


At the end of the day, a natural consequence of all the hard work that takes place in our office is cold beer. And we’re not alone. America spends a whopping $100 billion on beer each year. So important that we’ve previously uncovered that it takes a hurricane to stop Hawaiians from buying beer. Beer is essential in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


And by far the preferred type of beer in America: light tasting lagers. The industry has even progressively consolidated around those main popular brands, the most recent example being the merger of AB-InBev and SABMiller. Although, the tides seem to be changing.


If you compare our free brand dashboards for Budweiser, Miller, and Coors—defined by the industry as ‘premium’ beers—to those of the craft brands Blue Moon and Shock Top, you’ll notice how the latter tend to attract a significantly younger shopper. Some retailers, like Kroger (America’s biggest grocer) have begun to purposefully bet on the growing craft beer category.


To learn more about the shift in taste and why focusing on it might be a winning strategy for retailers, we decided to investigate further. Specifically, we focused on a group of Kroger beer buyers who used to buy premium beer, but no longer do so. Unsurprisingly, these shoppers were more likely to be:


  • Millennials (ages 21-24)
  • Single
  • Low Income (<40,000 annually)


In place of the ‘premium’ beer brands, these lapsed shoppers decided to spend their money on beers that are positioned as ‘craft’:

Brands Lapsed Shoppers


Of equal importance, we wanted to know which premium beer brands were hit hardest by these lapsed shoppers who are searching for something less ‘macro’. Among the premium brands, the biggest losers turned out to be Bud Light and Coors Light with a -3.5% dollars spent each, followed by Miller Lite with -1.1% dollars spent.


Much has been said about this generation’s shopping habits leaving traditional grocers out of the picture. But grocers like Kroger seem to have found a way to bring them into the store and our data shows that their strategy is working. Among millennials who buy craft beer, Kroger captures 12.5% of their overall grocery related spend versus just 6.8% among millennials in general. In contrast, Walmart’s share of millennials wallets is actually lower among craft beer buyers.


Of course, during our panel analysis, it wasn’t always the case that consumers stopped buying ‘premium’ beer at Kroger because they wanted to get craft beer. Frequently we observed legacy beer drinkers lapsing not from the premium category, but from the retailer. That is, some consumers continued to buy products like Bud Light, just not from Kroger. Where did they end up buying their premium beer instead? Our Lapsed Shopper analysis revealed the top five retailers picking up the slack:


Retailers Lapsed Shoppers


What remains a mystery is what consumers (not breweries) consider to be ‘craft’ beer. Many of the craft brands millennials jumped to are still manufactured by the big name breweries that also manufacture the popular premium brands. Is it about the size of the brewery? Or is it about the taste of the beer? Find out in our next post on American Beer.


Did this article create any business questions you want answered? Want to know more about how America is purchasing beer at Kroger and other retailers? Get in touch with us to see how InfoScout and the largest purchase panel in America can help your business truly understand the beer consumer’s path to purchase.

InfoScout Acquires Shelfie


  • Acquisition accelerates InfoScout’s ability to help data-driven marketers understand and engage consumers like never before.
  • Shelfie’s co-founder and CEO, C.J. Acosta will join InfoScout to lead marketing initiatives.
  • Shelfie’s co-founder and CTO Edward Betancourt will join the team to lead development of InfoScout’s Insights platform


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – September 23, 2015 InfoScout today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Shelfie, an innovative retail data crowdsourcing company, for an undisclosed amount.


Shelfie developed a highly efficient, real-time crowdsourcing solution that captured hundreds-of-thousands of retail shelf images from shoppers across America.   The acquisition supports InfoScout’s and Shelfie’s shared mission of empowering data-driven marketers by delivering crowdsourced insights straight from real shoppers.


“Brands and retailers are starving for insights derived from the actual behaviors of real people as opposed to the legacy model of requiring framed survey responses from professional panelists.” said Jared Schrieber,  InfoScout’s co-founder and CEO.  “We’ve seen rapid adoption of our real-time shopper insights platform this year and are excited to bring the Shelfie team on board to help us further accelerate that growth.”


InfoScout’s portfolio of mobile apps engage over 1,000,000 Americans throughout their path-to-purchase.  These apps have recorded more than one-hundred million shopping lists and receipts to provide marketers with same-day insights into shopper behavior across all retailers at the item-level.


C.J. Acosta, Shelfie’s co-founder and CEO, said, “By operating America’s largest and richest source of consumer purchase data, InfoScout has successfully turned a very important part of market research on its head, all by leveraging mobile, crowdsourcing & image processing technologies. This aligns perfectly with our mission at Shelfie. Combining our strengths and knowledge with an industry leader like InfoScout, will allow the Shelfie team to make a bigger impact in this space than what we could’ve ever done on our own”.


About InfoScout

InfoScout’s real-world analytics make brands better marketers by providing the industry’s largest, richest & most actionable source of consumer behavior throughout the path-to-purchase. Leading consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Unilever leverage InfoScout’s data and analytics to measure and improve market share, brand loyalty and the success of new product launches through a better understanding the ‘why behind the buy.’


About Shelfie

Shelfie provides marketers with unprecedented visibility into what’s happening at retail stores so they can improve and be more efficient in their marketing execution. The solution is powered by a mobile app which crowdsources thousands of images of store shelves from real consumers all across the nation. The Boston-based team brought their idea to market last year as part of The Brandery accelerator in Cincinnati, OH.


Target Boycotters: More Bark Than Bite?

Target Gender Neutrality


On August 7, Target announced that it would be removing gender-based labels in the Toy, Home, and Entertainment departments of their stores, and Americans were quick to blow up their favorite social media channels with statements of support or anger.

If we’ve learned anything about the Internet, we know that whenever someone is willing to share an opinion, there’s another person willing to mock that opinion.  One man took it upon himself to pose as a Target customer-service agent to “help” the myriads of angry Facebook-ers.


Target Troll


Thank goodness InfoScout is in the business of measuring behavior and sentiment rather than expressing it.  It could have been us on the receiving end of that help.

With waves of individuals claiming they would never shop at the retailer again, we used InfoScout’s real-time visibility into Target and its competitors (online and offline) to determine whether actual shopping behavior mirrored the online proclamations.  Early data indicates that the boycott claims propagating Facebook and Twitter may have been more emotional release than reality, as Target’s share of shopping households and trips remained at a general flatline.


Target Shopping Over Time


It could be that the instantaneous nature of posting on social media captures fleeting emotional spikes rather than lasting sentiments – proclaimed boycotters’ momentary anger may have been quickly replaced by the convenience of shopping at one of Target’s 2,000 nationwide stores.

It Wouldn’t Be The First Or Last Time A Social Media Rant Ended Up Being Inaccurate In Retrospect.


Jaden Smith Tweet


InfoScout provides real-time insights into the path to purchase.  Contact us to discover how a new generation of shopper & consumer insights can be applied at your company.