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Canadians love a little music in the supermarket

Seniors are more likely to prefer the sound of silence while they shop

What do your customers want? What do they really, really want? A decent mix of tunes to cruise the aisles of your store, says a new survey.

Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians say hearing music in the supermarket makes shopping more enjoyable, according to the survey by polling firm Leger and SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada).

Among the findings: 28% say music slows their shopping and 24% believe music causes them to stay in the supermarket longer.

Leslie Craig, director of licensing operations for SOCAN, said more Canadians enjoy hearing music in grocery stores than she had assumed prior to doing the survey.

“You’d expect those kinds of numbers in restaurants and other types of retailers, but maybe not in a grocery store, which people shop so often,” she said.

Thirty-four per cent of Canadians admit to singing and dancing in the aisles to a tune–something Craig said she’s caught herself doing on occasion.

Another 33% said they’ve lingered in a store to finish hearing a song they especially enjoyed. “And every minute you stay a store is another product you buy,” Craig added.

So what type of music do Canadians want to hear while squeezing the avocados? Seventeen per cent like pop, 10% rock, 9% jazz/blues and 6% R&B/hip-hop. But nearly half (49%) prefer a mix of styles.

Not everyone loves tapping toes to the grocery cart, however. Nineteen per cent of those surveyed do not want to hear any music.

Not surprisingly, older shoppers are more likely to prefer the sound of silence. Forty-two per cent of those 65 and up said they don’t like to hear music in a grocery store, followed by 22% among the 55-to-64 set.

Retailers who play music understand its role in the shopping experience, Craig noted. It gives people "extra energy, stamina" and sometimes “can take them back in time.”

Grocery stores tend to play music slightly louder today than in the past, she added. “It used to be much more in the background and softer.”

With Christmas around the corner, music is definitely on consumers' minds. A study done by SOCAN a year ago found most want to hear holiday music in stores this time of year, with preferences varying by age.

Boomers and older consumers prefer traditional Christmas tunes. Think Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”.

Millennials and those younger don’t mind the old stuff but also want to hear newer renditions, such as last year’s holiday hit “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé.

The Leger/SOCAN survey was published in a report called “Play On: Music is the Food of Business.” In addition to surveying people’s perceptions about music in supermarkets it also examined how Canadians perceive music in restaurants, retail overall and businesses attitudes toward playing music.

The finding are based on an online survey of 1,500 Canadians between Nov 6 and Nov 22, plus an online survey of 270 businesses that have a SOCAN licence to play music.


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