MUMBAI: Some 20% of Indian consumers are now making the majority of their grocery purchases from supermarkets rather than traditional stores, with a further one fifth of this group shopping at four or more different retail chains within the last month, Nielsen says.

The Indian retail sector is made up of a mixture of competing national and regional brands, as well a range of "traditional" outlets and "modern trade" stores.

Based on a poll of 3,441 participants, Nielsen's ShopperTrends study reports that the number of customers visiting supermarkets at least once a month in India's eight biggest cities has increased by 11% compared with a similar survey conducted by the company in November 2007.

More than 50% of the respondents that bought products at "modern trade" outlets said they have a "regular" store, with a similar number arguing their choice of supermarket was based on convenience.

However, while only 39% of Indians shopped at such stores at least once a month, a total of 97% typically did so at their "traditional" counterparts over the same period.

Overall, "value for money" was given a higher level of preference than "low price" among those surveyed, while the number of consumers looking for coupons and visiting stores offering discounts via this medium has also tripled in the last year.

The products which are most frequently purchased from organised retail chains include personal care brands, detergents, cooking products and biscuits, although the traditional trade sector "remains the most preferred outlet type for all categories."

More middle class consumers were also found to be shopping at supermarkets, making up around 25% of total footfall, while these outlets are also said to be the "preferred destination" for young men.

Data sourced from Nielsen/Business Standard; additional content by WARC staff