Today’s consumer market is filled with products that are considered detrimental to the health and well-being of people. However, the health risks associated with certain products have not prevented consumers from continuing to purchase such products. This can be attributed to various factors. One could be that people have gotten used to the consumption of such products that they have little concern over the health risks that may be associated with the said products. These products may include cigarettes, fatty foods, drinks like beer and soda, or food that are high in sodium.
Part of marketing research is to determine the consumption patterns in the consumer market with regards to healthy and unhealthy products. The information to be derived from such research will be valuable to the producers of food and beverages that may have certain health risks associated with it. Moreover, even producers of healthy products may find value in the information that such market research will provide.
Market research likewise involves spatial analysis.
Spatial analysis refers to the analysis of data using spatial statistics. According to Bronnenberg (2004), “Spatial statistics are useful in describing cross-sections of markets, consumers, brands, or other units of analysis. These units of analysis (e.g., markets, consumers, or brands) can often be represented as a point or address in an underlying space (e.g., geographic, social, or attribute-based, respectively).” Also, Goss (1995) stated that spatial analysis works by, “Collecting spatially referenced data on consumers, constructing statistical models of identity, and mapping distributions of consumer characteristics or types”.
The value of determining spatial factors is valuable for companies since different geographic locations may entail different marketing strategies. Moreover, each location may have its own consumption pattern and thus, may require a different approach.
In this paper, a spatial analysis will be conducted wherein the consumption behavior of consumers in an inner-city and a sub-urban area will be compared. The focus of this analysis will be to determine the consumption of healthy foods. Healthy food has been determined to any food products that consist of healthy factors which are salt-free, sodium-free, sugar-free, and low-fat ingredients. The products to be analyzed include beer, soft drink, ice cream, and milk. Data from one store in each area will be used and compared to develop ideas regarding the healthy consumption of people in each location.
Description of Data
Two stores A and B in different regions were selected. Also, all CBGs (census Block Groups) of households that comprise 80 to 90% of store sales in the first quarter of 2005 were included. One store is located in inner-city while another one is in suburban area. Data comprised of the average consumption of each household for each of the following products, beer, soft drinks, ice cream, and milk. Also, the total number of households that purchased each of the said products was likewise collected.
People living in inner-city and suburban areas have different lifestyles. People in the former have a more fast-paced lifestyle wherein their daily lives may require them to constantly move around. Also, their proximity to city life may entail that they live a more risk life in terms of health. On the other hand, people in suburban areas may enjoy a more laid back lifestyle. More attention may be given to the health needs of the family members.
Demographic characteristics may also vary. The inner-city area may be dominated by single working people while the suburban area may be primarily composed of families. This difference in demographic factors may reflect upon the difference in needs and wants most especially on their consumption behaviors.
Analyzing the buying pattern of people in the inner-city reveals that consumers in the said area buy what they need when they need it. This means that they rarely make bulk purchases and instead, they only buy the products when they have run out of them. This runs opposite to the trend in suburban areas where people make bulk purchases but do not consume everything all at once. Part of what they purchase is left for storage to be consumed at a later time.
In terms of what product is purchased the most, the analysis reveals that soft drinks are the most purchased item in both areas. Despite the health risks associated with drinking soft drinks, people in the inner city and suburban area continue to consume the said product. The least purchased product in both areas in ice cream. This is primarily due to the fact that ice cream is only eaten as dessert or as a snack.
The inner city and suburban people have different consumption patterns for beer and milk. Quite obviously, beer is a health risk while milk is not. In the inner city, beer purchases are lesser than that of suburban areas. However, inner city people drink more beer than those in suburban areas. This is reflected in the fact that more households in the suburban areas make more purchases of beer. However, the average consumption of each beer in household areas is less than that of people in inner city areas. Here, the fact that households in suburban areas are larger factors in. Since suburban households have more children, the average consumption per product decreases. Children do not consume beer and their non-consumption affects the average significantly.
The said trend is the same for soft drink purchases. Inner city people purchase less soft drinks but consume more. This may also be attributed to the fact that people in suburban areas are more likely to purchase products for storing as earlier mentioned. However, the consumption rate in inner city areas is greater. The trend is different for ice cream purchases as suburban households make more purchases and consume more. This may also be attributed to the fact that suburban households have more children who are greatly fond of ice cream.
Lastly, the trend for ice cream purchases is similar to that of milk purchases. Milk is bought and consumed more in suburban areas. This may also be attributed to the fact that children are the most likely consumers of milk and suburban households have a greater number of children.
The spatial analysis has revealed key points with regards to the healthy consumption in inner city and suburban areas. The primary point of the analysis is that inner city households have a less healthy consumption pattern. Members of the household consume more products that have a greater health risk. This is due to the fact that they consume more beer and soft drinks both of which have greater health risks. Also, the analysis has revealed that although suburban households make more purchases of all products analyzed, this is not consumed right away. Some are merely stored for later consumption. Finally, since suburban households have a greater composition of children, more healthy products, primarily milk, are purchased and consumed in the said households.