Consumer research specialist Numerator has responded to grocery industry buzz about the impact of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) weight-loss drugs on food and beverage purchases with better-quantified data of shoppers on these medications.
Chicago-based Numerator said Thursday that it surveyed more than 100,000 of its omnichannel consumer panelists with 12-plus consecutive months of longitudinal purchasing history to identify and type households using GLP-1 drugs for weight loss, diabetes management or both. These medications—such as Ozempic, Wegovy and Trulicity, among others—are indicated to treat diabetes and obesity but have stirred up consumers with their potential for faster and more dramatic weight loss, which Numerator said could change shopper buying behavior.
For its GLP-1 consumer panel, Numerator required at least two shopping trips per month in each of 12 straight months, which the researcher noted provides “the depth and stability” to spotlight rapid shifts in consumer habits after the onset of medication use. Panels with non-consecutive month standards, such as 10 out of 12 months, are less-suited to accurately gauge these behavior changes, Numerator said.
“By understanding specific consumer behaviors, brands and retailers can anticipate the impact of GLP-1 medication and adapt strategic plans to meet consumers head on,” Numerator CEO Eric Belcher said in a statement.
“General metrics on one to two shopping trips per week or loyalty card analysis are unsuitable proxies for shifts in underlying behaviors,” Belcher explained. “Numerator has quickly typed a large-scale panel to provide needed visibility with sufficient sample size to support meaningful insights for brands and retailers.”
Key findings from Numerator’s September GLP-1 consumer panel include the following:
• GLP-1 households make more frequent grocery trips than the average household. The average GLP-1 household made 32 grocery trips (i.e. shopping trips that contain food or beverages) in September, up from 29 trips for all households. Numerator said the differences in trip count were “even more significant” between households with members using GLP-1 weight-loss drugs (33 trips) and households with non-users (27 trips).
• Grocery baskets from GLP-1 users tend not to be large, stock-up shopping trips. Among Numerator’s GLP-1 panelists, 27% of grocery trips constituted just one or two items, 50% had two to 10 items, 14% included 11 to 20 items and 9% contained 21 or more items.
“This breakout is consistent across GLP-1 and non-GLP-1 households,” Numerator explained. “Capturing all trip types, especially smaller trips which often include small indulgences—e.g. snacks, candy, beverages, etc.—are crucial for understanding changes in GLP-1 household purchasing.”
• GLP-1 households go online to buy groceries more often than other households. GLP-1 households’ online grocery trips were up 14% in September from a year ago, Numerator’s data showed. That topped the 8% uptick in online grocery trips by non-GLP-1 households.
• Consumers using GLP-1 weight-loss drugs make more grocery shopping trips beyond traditional food, mass and drug stores. Over half (51%) of grocery trips by GLP-1 weight-loss households were in convenience, dollar, club, online or other specialty retail channels outside of conventional food/mass/drug stores, where traditional panels focus, Numerator noted—seven points higher than the 44% of grocery trips outside food/mass/drug that non-GLP-1 households average.
Until this week, just two GLP-1 receptor agonists were approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for weight management: Saxenda (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide). Two other semaglutide medicines, Ozempic and Rybelsus, are FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes but have also proved effective in reducing weight.
On Wednesday, the FDA cleared Zepbound (tirzepatide)—a version of the GLP-1 type 2 diabetes drug Mounjaro—for chronic weight management.
GLP-1 drugs help people lose weight by making them feel fuller with smaller amounts of food and by signaling the brain that the stomach contains food, reducing their appetite and cravings. Their efficacy in reducing weight versus standard weight-loss solutions has caught the eyes of consumers.
For instance, according to a report by UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, participants in clinical trials of Wegovy lost an average of 15% of their body weight, and over half of participants lost even more weight—or up to five times the average weight loss achieved via typical diet and exercise plans.