August 13, 2019

4 Ways Digital Grocery Lists Predict In-Store Sales

CPGs would love a crystal ball that shows what products shoppers will buy before they actually buy them. Now they have one: Digital grocery lists.

34% of all consumers use a mobile shopping list app* and it turns out these mobile lists are accurate predictors of future in-store sales. CPG brands can look to these apps to understand real-time consumer Purchase Intent and use it to make smarter advertising decisions.

Here are some insights digital shopping lists reveal and how CPGs can use them to stay ahead of their competition.

1. Digital Grocery Lists show category trends before they happen

Will shoppers buy more cheese in April or May?

Can cheese brands expect a slump or boom next month?

Let’s see what the shopping lists have to say.

The blue line in the graph shows the % of shoppers adding cheese to their lists. The gray bars show what was actually purchased, per USDA consumer consumption data. The trends are the same, but there is one big difference: when CPGs can access the data.

AdAdapted’s list data was harvested and presented in real-time, revealing what consumers were intending to buy on a daily basis. The USDA data took two months to publish, making it useless for any quick optimizations.

2. Digital Grocery Lists show product trends over time

How do I know when consumers are thinking about my product?

Most households head to the grocery store at least once a week. But what they buy during the trip changes month-over-month

For example, let’s take a look at “mayo”:

From this chart, we can see shoppers intend to purchase “mayo” more in summer months (May- Aug) and the holidays versus other times of the year.

Flour also spikes in winter months as shoppers bake for the holidays. But unlike mayo, we don’t see the same increase in the summer.

Brands can use this information to plan heavy-ups, guide their content strategy and align creative with consumer behavior.

3. Lists show what products will come out on top

The cheese category is up as a whole – but what about cream cheese?

Looking at list data also reveals the specific products within a category that shoppers are planning to buy.

When matched against sales data, we see a direct correlation between the products on digital shopping lists and the products sold in-store.

CPG advertisers can look at how these trends change from region to region to see how their products match up.

4. Lists show how advertising captures market share

Sales were down this month: Does that mean my ad campaign isn’t performing?

Or are there bigger trends at play?

Looking at list data not only shows how a specific brand is doing, but how that brand compares to broader category trends.

In the graph above, it’s clear that not only did the advertising bean brand’s campaign get more shoppers to add their product to the list, but that the category as a whole grew amongst shoppers when they launched their campaign (driving incremental category sales).


CPGs can leverage digital shopping lists to get a real-time read on consumer Purchase Intent. As list data is an accurate predictor of in-store sales, it can be used to optimize media, identify in-market shoppers and capitalize on category and product trends.

*Valassis Coupon Intelligence Report, 2017

For more info…

AdAdapted ( is the number one add-to-list mobile advertising and insights solution for CPG brands and the agencies that represent CPG brands. AdAdapted offers CPG brands the ability to directly target their primary consumers in the apps they use to plan and shop. AdAdapted’s platform places CPG brands in front of consumers with native, non-disruptive ads at the exact moment of decision-making, targeting consumers with laser-like efficiency and getting products on digital shopping lists.

Stay up to date on the latest in CPG Advertising