Path To Purchase



Heineken is the world’s second largest brewer, managing an enviable portfolio of global brands, from Amstel to Zywiec. It is growing in virtually all markets, reflecting their clear ambition to become the world’s No.1.

We worked with Heineken’s UK Brand Intelligence and Category Development teams, who are jointly responsible for UK category strategy and vision. As a regional leader this policy work has impact across European markets.


The team at Heineken believed that the UK market for Beer and Cider had shifted in recent years, impacted by growth in Craft Beers and other macro-trends. They wanted to develop a stronger understanding of shoppers’ path to purchase in the category, with a particular focus on factors influencing subconscious, System-1 thinking. 

Detailed insights were needed on sub-categories within Beer & Cider, especially the Craft sector. These insights would feed into an over-arching strategy for Beers, Wines & Spirits (BWS) in the UK off-trade, especially Grocery.


We created a phased project which touched on all aspects of the path to purchase, from consumers’ needs, to shopper decision making in store, to consumption, the real moment of truth.

Our methods were carefully structured to capture instinctive, unconscious behaviours and thinking, as well as more considered processes.

Observations and intercept interviews in store provided detailed insights into behaviour at the fixture and factors driving it. Mobile ethnography delivered an intimate understanding of personal touchpoints with the category, in home, in store, and at points in between. Accompanied shopping trips enabled us to compare and contrast shopping experiences across retailers and channels. MaxDiff techniques allowed us to tease out genuine priorities in the decision-making process.

Across the study, we captured considerable video recording of individuals in consumer and shopper mode, enabling us to share their voice directly with stakeholders in the project.


The study delivered a wealth of information about shoppers’ decision-making process on the journey to buy Beer and Cider. As well as illuminating the journey for mainstream brands, we also threw light on specialist areas such as the burgeoning Craft sector.

Insights have informed policy in a number of areas, from category strategy to shopper segmentation, to category layout and organisation.