Marketing & Sales

All Expertise

Consumer & Shopper Insights

Translating insights about customers into concrete business ideas and profitable growth.

Contact this practice

We partner with clients to discover and explore the beliefs, attitudes, and motivations that drive customer behavior through their purchase decision journey. Using proprietary approaches, tools, and techniques grounded in distinctive perspectives regarding consumer meta-trends, macroeconomics, and industry structures, we help clients generate a 360° view of their customers—one that sparks innovation, uncovers the most promising sources of growth, and helps develop successful products and brands.

What we do

We use a strategic mindset and a business perspective to generate customer and shopper insights and help translate those findings into concrete business ideas and exceptional organizational performance. We work with clients in four primary ways:

  • Generating customer insights through qualitative research

    Qualitative research helps bring customers to life. It illuminates their needs, their decision-making processes, and their reactions to companies and brands. We collaborate with and train clients to use these perspectives to focus problem-solving, improve value propositions, overcome barriers to adoption, and innovate faster and more successfully.

  • Segmenting for strategic decision making and growth

    As the number of brands, product launches, and places of contact with customers increases, and the battle for market share intensifies, segmentation is more important than ever in helping marketing executives focus investments and identify opportunities for growth. We help clients create a segmentation platform that provides the fundamental insights needed to successfully navigate today’s increasingly complex marketing environment.

  • Conducting conjoint analysis to provide in-depth customer insights

    Conjoint analysis is a statistical technique that clarifies how consumers value the different features that make up a product or service. It’s one of the most powerful tools marketers can use to understand their customers—but it’s also one of the most difficult to use effectively. We help clients bring the business judgment, technical expertise, and industry experience needed to generate detailed and precise insights into customer preferences, segment with greater precision, uncover the “soft” attributes that help position brands, and forecast more accurate estimates of market share and financial impact.

  • Revealing the stages and touchpoints that influence consumer brand choices

    We help our clients focus their investments on the four battlegrounds that make up the consumer-decision journey: helping brands become part of the initial consideration set; maximizing word of mouth to help brands stand out during the evaluation process; “closing the deal” at the store and through agents; and building loyalty after purchase.

Examples of what we do

Conducted a needs-based segmentation for a global pharmaceutical brand to reveal opportunities to improve market share.

Helped unify a leading Internet company around a global and enterprise-wide strategic segmentation of customers, enabling effective prioritization and coordination of marketing and product development activities.

Collaborated with a retail bank to conduct conjoint-based research into current customers and cross-bank shoppers to achieve financial targets and improve market share following a merger.

Proprietary tools and solutions

Insights China helps organizations craft robust strategies to respond to China’s rapidly changing market by supporting decision making on where to invest, how much to invest, and how to invest.

Featured insights

Irrational consumption

Irrational consumption: How consumers really make decisions

February 2015—The emergent field of behavioral economics is opening opportunities for companies to build stronger relationships with their customers

How leading retailers turn insights into profits

How leading retailers turn insights into profits

December 2014–By embedding consumer insights into their merchandising processes, retailers can boost both like-for-like sales and profitability while creating smarter merchants.

Big Data eBook

Big data, analytics, and the future of marketing & sales

July 2013—Companies that turn big data into above-market growth will identify valuable business opportunities, turn insights into well-designed products/offers, and deliver these effectively.more

Meet our people

Tim McGuire

Tim McGuire


Related topics

Find published articles, interviews, videos, and infographics on related topics on the McKinsey on Marketing & Sales site: