By: Kaoru Moulton | 11-26-2017 | News
Photo credit: Ljupco | Dreamstime

Costco Shoppers Spend More, Eat More

The club store has a lot of important consumer value in America. efficiency, convenience, and saving.

However, new research found the following:

People shopping at warehouse-type club stores such as Costco, BJ's or Sam's Club are buying more packaged foods than people who don't shop there. Also, they go shopping more frequently. And they are taking more calories of packaged food.

“You think you’re saving money and getting ahead, but it’s not good for your health and it’s not good for your pocketbook,” says Kusum Ailawadi, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the lead author of the study, along with co-authors Yu Ma and Dhruv Grewal.

Such people assume that you can save money by shopping. Based on that assumption, people will be members of the club store. Their assumptions are as follows: Extra food you purchase will be kept in the food storage. And people will consume their food over a longer time. The frequency of going shopping decreases. There is plenty of food in the refrigerator! You can save money!

“Things seem good from a financial and health perspective,” she says. “The problem is, that’s not what happens.”

According to her survey, those who regularly shop at the club stores got the following results compared to when they did not shop at the club stores.

In the home, the amount spent on packaged food per person has increased by 5%.

The time spent shopping increased by 15%.

Calories consumed increased by 8%.

Researchers discovered that you are not saving, as well as increasing spending on packaged food at a wholesale club store by $ 3.50 overnight.

Ailawadi says, “but If you’re looking at this to save money, it is going in the opposite direction.”

Also, the club fee is "invisible expenses".

She says that a very clever mental accounting operation is taking place.

“You’ll say, I paid $99, I’m going to make sure I get my money’s worth by shopping in the club store every chance I get,” says Ailawadi.

As a result, people shop more often at the club store and shop more.

Likewise, the average number of shopping trips per month is 2.5 times on average. And warehouse club stores tend to be located far away from people's homes than supermarkets. This contributes to increasing the shopping time and gas consumption.

Shoppers at club stores have over 3,500 packaged food calories per month per person. Specifically, fat consumption increased by 11% and sugar increased by 5%.

“We know that no matter how self-controlled you are when there is more in the home you consume more,” she says.

This finding did not surprise researchers. However, to their surprise, the trend was consistent in all aspects.

“We didn’t see any significant difference across demographic categories such as education, health consciousness, and even income,” Ailawadi says.

So is buying in bulk always bad for you?

The short answer is no, says Ailawadi.

If you are a club member and want to make the most of it, plan shopping, says Ailawadi. Much of the increase in spending and consumption comes from spontaneous purchases.

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