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Consumer Shopping Behavior: How Much Do Consumers Save?

Author

Listed:
  • Rachel Griffith
  • Ephraim Leibtag
  • Andrew Leicester
  • Aviv Nevo

Abstract

This paper documents the potential and actual savings that consumers realize from four particular types of purchasing behavior: purchasing on sale; buying in bulk (at a lower per unit price); buying generic brands; and choosing outlets. How much can and do households save through each of these behaviors? How do these patterns vary with consumer demographics? We use data collected by a marketing firm on all food purchases brought into the home for a large, nationally representative sample of U.K. households in 2006. We are interested in how consumer choice affects the measurement of price changes. In particular, a standard price index based on a fixed basket of goods will overstate the rise in the true cost of living because it does not properly consider sales and bulk purchasing. According to our measures, the extent of this bias might be of the same or even greater magnitude than the better-known substitution and outlet biases.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Ephraim Leibtag & Andrew Leicester & Aviv Nevo, 2009. "Consumer Shopping Behavior: How Much Do Consumers Save?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 99-120, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:23:y:2009:i:2:p:99-120
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.2.99
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.23.2.99
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2006. "Measuring the Implications of Sales and Consumer Inventory Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1637-1673, November.
    2. Reinsdorf, Marshall, 1994. "The Effect of Price Dispersion on Cost of Living Indexes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 137-149, February.
    3. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2006. "Sales and consumer inventory," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 543-561, September.
    4. Ian Crawford, 1994. "UK household cost-of-living indices, 1979-92," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(4), pages 1-28, January.
    5. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Life-Cycle Prices and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1533-1559, December.
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    8. Boizot, Christine & Robin, Jean-Marc & Visser, Michael, 2001. "The Demand for Food Products: An Analysis of Interpurchase Times and Purchased Quantities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 391-419, April.
    9. Jack Triplett, 2004. "Handbook on Hedonic Indexes and Quality Adjustments in Price Indexes: Special Application to Information Technology Products," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2004/9, OECD Publishing.
    10. Jerry Hausman & Ephraim Leibtag, 2009. "CPI Bias from Supercenters: Does the BLS Know that Wal-Mart Exists?," NBER Chapters,in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 203-231 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Robert C. Feenstra & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2003. "High-Frequency Substitution and the Measurement of Price Indexes," NBER Chapters,in: Scanner Data and Price Indexes, pages 123-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
    13. Jack E. Triplett, 2003. "Using Scanner Data in Consumer Price Indexes. Some Neglected Conceptual Considerations," NBER Chapters,in: Scanner Data and Price Indexes, pages 151-162 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jerry Hausman, 2003. "Sources of Bias and Solutions to Bias in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 23-44, Winter.
    15. Charles L. Schultze, 2003. "The Consumer Price Index: Conceptual Issues and Practical Suggestions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
    16. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Victor Aguirregabiria & Victor Aguirregabiria & Aviv Nevo & Aviv Nevo, 2010. "Recent Developments in Empirical IO: Dynamic Demand and Dynamic Games," Working Papers tecipa-419, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    2. Francesco Nava & Pasquale Schiraldi, 2014. "Sales And Collusion In A Market With Storage," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 791-832, June.
    3. Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell & Kate Smith, 2016. "Shopping Around: How Households Adjusted Food Spending Over the Great Recession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 247-280, April.
    4. Miki Kohara & Yusuke Kamiya, 2016. "Maternal employment and food produced at home: evidence from Japanese data," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 417-442, June.
    5. Hyoung-Goo Kang & Hailey Hayeon Joo & Janghee Cho, 2014. "Brand-size complementarity in the choice of retail stores," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(6), pages 413-416, April.
    6. Seaton, Jonathan S. & Waterson, Michael, 2013. "Identifying and characterising price leadership in British supermarkets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 392-403.
    7. Pozzi, Andrea, 2013. "E-commerce as a stockpiling technology: Implications for consumer savings," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 677-689.
    8. Takatoshi Ito & Kazumasa Iwata & Colin McKenzie & Shujiro Urata & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2014. "Japan's Persistent Deflation and Monetary Policy: Editors' Overview," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 9(1), pages 1-19, January.
    9. Anania, Giovanni & Nistico, Rosanna, 2012. "Price dispersion, search costs and consumers and sellers heterogeneity in retail food markets," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 125594, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Anania, Giovanni & Nisticò, Rosanna, 2014. "Price dispersion and seller heterogeneity in retail food markets," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 190-201.
    11. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9399-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap, 2011. "Best Prices," NBER Working Papers 16680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Eizenberg, Alon & Lach, Saul & Yiftach, Merav, 2016. "Retail Prices in a City," CEPR Discussion Papers 11590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Rachel Griffith & Lars Nesheim, 2010. "Estimating households' willingness to pay," CeMMAP working papers CWP24/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    15. Fox, Kevin J. & Syed, Iqbal A., 2016. "Price discounts and the measurement of inflation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(2), pages 398-406.
    16. Ji Yan & Kun Tian & Huw D. Dixon & Saeed Heravi & Peter Morgan, 2014. "Shop Around and You Pay More," CESifo Working Paper Series 4940, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Giovanni Anania & Rosanna Nisticò, 2011. "Price Dispersion, Search Costs And Consumers And Sellers Heterogeneity In Retail Food Markets," Working Papers 201105, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    18. Naohito Abe & Kyosuke Shiotani, 2014. "Who Faces Higher Prices? An Empirical Analysis Based on Japanese Homescan Data," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 9(1), pages 94-115, January.
    19. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9388-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Malakhov, Sergey, 2012. "К Вопросу О Возможности Синтеза Концепции Удовлетворяющего Поиска И Неоклассической Доктрины
      [A note on the synthesis of the satisficing concept and the neoclassical theory]
      ," MPRA Paper 49494, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Kuhns, Annemarie & Volpe, Richard, 2014. "Assessing the Impact of the Great Recession on Healthfulness of Food Purchase Choices," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170485, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    22. Dixon, Huw & Seaton, Jonathan & Waterson, Michael, 2014. "Price Flexibility In British Supermarkets: Moderation And Recession," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1041, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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