Welcome to Global Homescan

Welcome to Global Homescan

Understanding how consumer behavior drives sales is critical for Manufacturers and Retailers to succeed. Homescan provides this vital consumer information.

Homescan is one of Nielsen’s core services providing our clients the ability to understand consumer purchasing patterns. Following this tutorial you will be able to:

What is a Panel?

What is a Panel?

A Panel is a representative sample of households who continually provide information about their purchases to represent the universe.

Consumer Panel vs. Nielsen Homescan panel

Consumer Panel Nielsen's Homescan Panel

Consumer Panels can be a group of households or individuals. These groups can record anything including:

  • Purchases
  • Consumption of anything from drinks to confectionary
  • TV or Movie viewing

Nielsen provides consumer measurement to clients around the world. Homescan panels measure fast moving consumer goods purchases intended for in-home consumption in private households.

  • Nielsen Homescan Panels collect data via in-home scanning technology.
  • Nielsen Homepanels collect data from household or auditor recorded diaries.

We will refer to all Nielsen Panels as Homescan  throughout Nielsen Homescan tutorials.

What Panelist Households do?

Household #1 Household #2 Household #3 Household #4

We are enjoying our retirement. We eat many meals prepared in our local grocer and eat many sugar-free options for dietary needs. We travel often to visit family.




Taking care of our child is the top priority. We eat foods he likes and always have kid friendly meals available. We try to purchase products on sale or shop at discount retailers.

I’m single and on the go. I eat foods that are convenient and easy for me to take with me. Health is not as much as a priority as convenience.



We like to eat foods that are good for our family. We eat organic produce and prepare many meals ourselves. We enhance our meals with herbs from our garden.

Methodology: 5 Steps to Continuous Tracking

Methodology: 5 Steps to Continuous Tracking

Step 1: Establish the Universe

What is a Universe? 
All households within the geographical area being measured.

  • Who?   The Nielsen Panel measures a sample of Households within the geographic region.
  • What?  Nielsen Panel is designed primarily to monitor purchasing of FMCG products.  We are interested in products that panelist households purchase.
  • Where?  Nielsen Panelist households submit their purchases for All Outlets / Channels. This allows us to report channels that may not be available from other data sources

Step 2: Design a Representative Sample

What is a Sample?
A Sample is a subset of households in a geographical area that is projected using weightings to match the Household population.

  • Panel Size: Break down the population by key demographics (e.g. income, age groups) and establish sample required in each target demographic to ensure there are enough households in each to represent the population.
  • Random Sampling: To ensure all key Demographics are represented.
  • Recruitment: Interest in joining panel established. Panel information sent to interested households needed to maintain sample.

Step 3: Data Collection

Following a shopping trip, households record their purchases and submit their purchases to Nielsen or are audited by Nielsen personnel. Data is collected in various techniques in Nielsen Homescan and HomePanels. This includes:

  • Scanning Panels
  • Diary Panels
  • Dustbin Scanning Panels

Step 4: Statistical Expansion

Eligibility: Every Household will not be in each analysis. Households will be included in reports only if they have scanned minimum expenditure amounts & have been consistent reporters.


Expansion: Data is expanded to the total geographical area by:

  • Applying weights at the individual household level.
  • Balancing on the Demographic attributes of households.

Step 5: Analysis & Interpretation

As consultants' our job is to deliver analytic value to our clients. We need to always identify the clients business issues and:

  • Address the clients’ business issue.
  • Deliver a Value-Added analysis.
  • Generate Opportunity and Sized Recommendations.
  • Include multiple data sources (if possible)


Nielsen's Global Panels

Nielsen Consumer Panel Services

Nielsen Consumer Panel Services A Strong Global Footprint Covering all Regions
Over 250,000 Households in 26 Countries! 

Types of Panels

There are four different types of panel collection methodologies, including:


Home Scanning

Each Household receives a hand held scanning device to scan all household purchases. For each shopping trip, households scan purchases at home as they unpack. Households regularly (weekly or daily) transmit their purchases via phone lines or over the internet on their computers.

  • A typical Home Scanning sequence looks similar to the example below.

Dustbin Scanning Panels

Households participating in the panel, save packages of products consumed in a basket (dustbin), keep all receipts (to record price) and record purchases without a receipt in a Diary.

Every 2 weeks, a field lady visits the home. On these trips she will:

  • Record purchases from dustbin with a hand held scanner.
  • Check pantries and bathrooms to search for products which were purchased during the period (Products in stock or being consumed). 
  • Take diary information to be recorded.



Diary Panels

Households use paper diaries to record their purchases of specific product categories in a ledger. They will generally include their receipts with their recorded entries. The diaries will typically be collected and replaced weekly or twice a month.



Cash Slips

Households in the Panel mail cash receipts 2x a month to a processing center to report purchases. They record purchases without a cash slip in a diary.



Why use Nielsen’s Homescan Panel?

The Homescan Panel is an essential marketing tool for the consumer goods industry. It provides unique, insightful and actionable diagnostic information on consumer purchasing behavior.

It allows us to determine:

  • How many households buy?
  • What do they buy?
  • Where do they buy?
  • How much do they buy?
  • How often do they buy?
  • Who buys?

How can the Nielsen Panel help my business?

Nielsen’s Consumer Panels:

  • Make Manufacturer and Retailer client's business more successful by understanding how consumer behavior drives sales.
  • Enable fact-based decisions based on understanding the consumer and shopper.
  • Inform decision-making in the planning process and helps to identify new growth opportunities in the marketplace.
Brand Planning Account Planning Consumer Diagnostics Shopper Diagnostics

Brand Planning provides marketers with a solid understanding of brand and category consumers, brand loyalty and marketplace trends.

Account Planning provides purchase behavior and demographic profile of channel shoppers, account shoppers and category buyers.

Nielsen Panel can help identify Consumer Diagnostics issues by: 

  • Tracking New product performance
  • Understanding competitive category dynamics 
  • Recognizing sales trends
  • Identifying most valuable buyers

We provide endless opportunities to identify shopper diagnostics including: 

  • Segmenting shoppers
  • Identifying high opportunity shoppers, categories, items and brands
  • Generating optimum product assortment

Data Differences

RMS data will not match Homescan data

Retail Measurement Services data Homescan data
Measures what goes out of the store Measures what goes into the home
Includes all purchases by anyone for out of home (impulse) and in home consumption Includes purchases by Household panelists from all outlets and projected to represent national purchasing
All Channels/ Outlets are not covered with RMS data Excludes items purchased for immediate consumption and items not intended for household use

Why use both RMS & Homescan data?

Retail Measurement Services Homescan Panel
Volumetric Diagnostic
Should be used for volume, expenditure, share and trade support within cooperating retailers Helps identify how consumers behave in all channels and how their behavior affects volume

Retail Measurement Services data will answer:

  • What is the volume of my brands? Competitive brands?
  • What cooperating retailers are selling the most brand volume?



Consumer Panel data will answer:

  • Who are my brand buyers?
  • How often are they shopping?
  • Are consumers loyal to my brands?
  • What alternative retailers are selling my products & how much?


RMS data will tell us…

  • Sales were down
  • My promotional volume increased vs. Year Ago







Consumer Panel Data tells us…

  • Did I have fewer buyers or did my buyers purchase less?
  • To what competitors did I lose volume?
  • Did consumers recognize my promotions?
  • Which consumers did I reward with my promotions – my brand buyers or competitive buyers?


Why use both RMS & Consumer Panel data?

Panel data should be used in conjunction with RMS data: 

  • To reveal the dynamics of consumer purchasing
  • To quantify the composition of volume by looking at all brands within a category and also in channels of distribution
  • To understand the reasons behind volume changes
  • To identify appropriate marketing strategies

Integrating Panel data with RMS provides the following benefits: 

  • Same Product Definitions & Hierarchies
  • Saves Time & Money working with a single consulting company – provides a single integrated presentation
  • Common coding between data sets
  • One account team
  • Consistent, Integrated Reporting


Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Global Homescan Tutorial.

Thank you for participating in this training. Now you should know:

  • What is Nielsen’s Homescan Panel
  • Understand the methodology and attributes of Nielsen’s Homescan Panel
  • Know the differences between panel data and RMS (Retail Measurement Services) data