Despite a shopping list being a tool to stay on budget and eliminate unnecessary purchases, research shows that nine out of 10 shoppers still buy items not on their lists, according to The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research.

Of these shoppers who purchase off-list items, 66 percent say the reason was a sale or promotion, 30 percent say they found a coupon, and 23 percent say they simply wanted to pamper themselves.

"Our data shows that 61 percent of off-list shoppers purchase an additional 1-3 items," Craig Elston, senior vice president, Integer, said in a company press release. "This shows that if you reach a particular shopper at the right moment with the right message, for example — using in-store signage to play into their desire to pamper themselves — it can end with that item being added to their basket."

When it comes to list-making, 61 percent of shoppers are influenced primarily by the brand of product they currently use, 57 percent report that coupons influence their list, and 56 percent say store ads or circulars influence their list. However, when shoppers are making lists, they typically do not write down brand names of a product, they write the product type. This means that although they may have their brand of choice in mind, there are factors that can influence a shopper to select one brand of a product over the other, telling marketers they need not worry that a shopping list excludes certain brands or creates a barrier to purchase.

Data for The Checkout comes from a national survey conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C where consumers are asked about their shopping attitudes, shopping behaviors, and economic outlook. Topics range from criteria shoppers use to select retailers, to which in-store stimulus is most likely to drive purchase, to factors that might lead shoppers to leave an aisle empty-handed. The Checkout is available for download at Integer's blog.

Read more about consumer behavior.

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