Shopper Study Released Identifying Gaps Between Aspirations and Buying Motivations

by Heather

Shopper Study Released Identifying Gaps Between Aspirations and Buying Motivations


InsightsNow, a behavioral research firm, has released the new “Aspirational Compass” study that examines shopper behavior. The primary research looked at the gap between what consumers desire (their aspirations) and what they actually purchase when in store. The whitespace between consumer desire and consumer action was identified as a place to focus product innovation. It also continued to examine shopper tradeoffs, a topic InsightsNow has been studying since 2019.

“InsightsNow is truly invested in deeply understanding the true motivations behind complex consumer behavior. Not only does this help us build better custom insights for our clients, it helps us understand the marketplace in a wider context,” said Dave Lundahl, CEO & Founder at InsightsNow. “This study is unique in that we have created a new way to identifying opportunities for companies to create whitespace for brand and product innovation, as well as a new way to identify consumer targets for brands and respectively impactful brand promises for identified consumer targets.”

The study used a reaction-based mobile research approach where study participants were provided a list of key aspirational characteristics about the foods they would buy, and then they were asked about what they actually do in real-life shopping experiences. Shoppers answered for overall shopping moment and specific moments they qualified for based on past category purchase.


Ten aspirational shopping areas were identified: nutrition, ethics, enjoyment, convenience, clean label, safety, sustainability, restricted diet, quality and price/value. In addition to purchase behavior motivations, the study looked at the tradeoffs people are making between their buying ideals and what’s currently plausible for them.


Key findings from the study include: 

  • One of the largest gaps between shopper aspirations and shopper realities is in the area of Sustainability, with 42% of shoppers aspire to shop for sustainably sourced products but only 5% able to do this in reality.
  • Sixty-eight percent of shoppers aspire to the aspirational theme of price value, but only 38% are able to shop that way in reality.
  • Thirty percent of U.S. shoppers are seeking high protein foods as they aspire to nutritional goals, only 14% of this shopping group are not achieving their aspiration to buy high protein foods.


The “Aspirational Compass” study was conducted in August 2022 among 2,891 U.S.-based primary shoppers, including among InsightsNow’s Clean Label Enthusiasts® community. The study was designed to help brands identify current and future consumer goals, as well as to understand where consumers are at today in their buying journey as well as where they will be in the future. Learnings from the research can help build brand strength by deeper consumer insights for better in-market positioning.  Learn more