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Milk is a top-performing rebate offer for mobile reward shopping app Ibotta

Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

13-Jan-2017
Last updated on 19-Jan-2017 at 10:44 GMT2017-01-19T10:44:08Z

Ibotta, a mobile shopping rewards app, found that rebates on milk perform very well among its users. ©iStock/sergeyryzhov
Ibotta, a mobile shopping rewards app, found that rebates on milk perform very well among its users. ©iStock/sergeyryzhov

Shopping habits of US consumers have shown that dairy milk still ranks as one of the top essential items on their grocery lists, according to data analysis from mobile reward shopping app Ibotta.

The company also surveyed more than 31,000 shoppers and found that despite the growth of dairy-free milk alternatives in recent years, 2% milk remains the most purchased variety, followed by whole milk.

“[Dairy] milk is not dead by a long way,” Ed Brooke, Ibotta director of analytics, told DairyReporter.

Who buys the most milk and when?

According to the data, residents of Cleveland bought the most milk in 2016, followed by Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and Dallas-Ft. Worth.

“Milk is still such a staple in everyone’s grocery basket,” Brooke said.

Ibotta is a single smartphone app that provides users with cash back offers on everyday purchases from major retail stores. The idea of promotional rebates is not a new concept, but having thousands of cash back offers redeemable at virtually any mass retail grocery store is.

“A customer is not going to have 15 or 20 retailer apps,” Brooke said. “Our app is applicable to all retailers.”

The process of using Ibotta while grocery shopping to rack up cash back has changed the shopping experience for users even when purchasing common items like milk.

Brooke explained that while some CPG items do very well with promotional offers, that has historically not been the case for milk products because of its perception as a necessary grocery item.

“Milk is not a promotionally driven category so it’s all about the everyday low price and supermarkets are often at each other’s throats to get that every day low price,” Brooke said.

Ibotta was able to use its collected data, which included analysis of 34m grocery receipts from 2016, to gain further insight into milk and discovered that prices are lowest on Monday and 4% higher on Sundays.

Milk is a top performing rebate category

Ibotta has rebates on certain milk brands such as Horizon Organic and Organic Valley as well as cashback offers on any type of milk including generic store brands.

“Certainly some of the more specialist milk brands are elevating milk from something you happen to buy every week to something that’s a bit more exciting,” Brooke said.

Ibotta data also showed that the top purchase made on the same shopping trip as organic milk is organic yogurt.

According to the company, the app has earned users more than $165m in cash back rewards, and milk rebates are one of the top performers.

“Milk far and away beats the rest in terms of redemption rate,” he added.

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