Shopping Habits in Puerto Rico

Commerce consists of transactions between buyers and sellers.  As such, commerce would be impossible if the prospective buyers are unaware of the existence of the eager sellers.  This is where advertising comes in, whereby the sellers signal to prospective buyers about the availability of goods and services and their attributes (e.g. location, quality, price, etc).  

In most countries, the largest advertising medium would be television, which has the ability to deliver mass audiences over wide areas.  For national brands, television is indeed an effective medium to reach a large number of people.  Unfortunately, the huge size of the television audience has the disadvantage of being unspecific.  For example, it does not inform the prospective consumer about the status of the brand in his/her local area (e.g. where is it available? is there a special sale this week?).  There are also local sellers (such as supermarkets or department stores) for whom national-level or even city-level television advertising would be wasteful due to overreaching beyond their trading areas.

For local sellers, newspapers are an effective medium for reaching just those people in their immediate trading area.  For many shoppers, the local newspapers are in fact the principal source of information.  We will now cite some survey data from the TGI Puerto Rico study.  This is a survey of 2,366 persons 12 years or older in Puerto Rico conducted by Mediafax during 2001.  With the survey, we identified 1,473 persons as being the principal shoppers within their households.  Among these people, 57% of them read one or more weekday newspapers, 43% read a Saturday newspaper and 33% read a Sunday newspaper.  Furthermore, 45% of them said that they frequently read the shopping sections and inserts in the newspapers.

Another major advantage about local newspaper is the ability to time the advertisements to coincide with shopping habits, as defined by convenience, need and availability.  In the next chart, we show the days of week at which these principal shoppers do their food and non-food shopping.  In each case, the prime shopping day is Saturday, with Friday being the next most frequent day. 

(source: TGI Puerto Rico)

(posted by Roland Soong, 5/2/2002)

(Return to Zona Latina's Home Page)