Nielsen Datasets

Two marketing datasets are available:

  • Consumer Panel Data
  • Retail Scanner Data

Researchers can integrate the two datasets to enable additional types of research. By integrating the two datasets, researchers can determine not only the items purchased by panelists, but also the availability, prices, and promotions associated with other products that were on the shelf at the same time. Although it varies by year, 45–70 percent of the stores in the consumer panel data can be matched to scanner data.


The Consumer Panel Data comprise a representative panel of households that continually provide information about their purchases in a longitudinal study in which panelists stay on as long as they continue to meet Nielsen's criteria. Nielsen Consumer panelists use in-home scanners to record all of their purchases (from any outlet) intended for personal, in-home use. Consumers provide information about their households and what products they buy, as well as when and where they make purchases.

Database Details

Years Available: starting with 2004 and including annual updates

Panel Size: 40,000–60,000 active panelists (varies by year), projectable to the total United States using household projection factors.

Panelists: Household demographic, geographic, and product ownership variables are included, as well as select demographics for the heads of household and other members.

  • Demographic variables include household income range, size, composition, presence and age of children, marital status, type of residence, race, and Hispanic origin. Male and female heads of household also report age range, birth date, hours employed, education, and occupation. For other family members, birth date, employment, and relationship/sex are reported.
  • Geographic variables include panelist zip code, FIPS state and county codes, region (east, central, south, west), and Scantrack Market code (assigned by Nielsen).
  • Product Ownership variables include kitchen appliances, TV items, and internet connection.

Products: All 10 Nielsen food and nonfood departments (~1.4 million UPC codes). These departments are dry grocery, frozen foods, dairy, deli, packaged meat, fresh produce, nonfood grocery, alcohol, general merchandise, and health and beauty aids.

Product Characteristics: All products include UPC code and description, brand, multi-pack, and size, as well as Nielsen codes for department, product group, and product module. Some products contain additional characteristics (e.g. flavor).

Purchases: Each shopping trip contains the date, retail chain code, retail channel, first three digits of store zip code, and total amount spent. For each product purchased, the UPC code, quantity, price, and any deals/coupons are recorded. Note that retailer names are not available.

Geographies: Entire United States, divided into 52 major markets.

Retail Channels: All retail channels—grocery, drug, mass merchandise, superstores, club stores, convenience, health, and others.

Retail Scanner data consist of weekly pricing, volume, and store environment information generated by point-of-sale systems from more than 90 participating retail chains across all US markets.

Database Details

  • Years Available: starting with 2006 and including annual updates

  • Store Demographics: includes store chain code, channel type, and area location. 

  • Weekly Product Data: for each UPC code, participating stores report units, price, price multiplier, baseline units, baseline price, feature indicator, and display indicator.

  • Products: weekly product data for 2.6 million UPCs including food, nonfood grocery items, health and beauty aids, and select general merchandise aggregated into 1,100 product categories store environment variables (i.e., feature and display indicators) from a subset of stores. The 1,100 product categories are categorized into 125 product groups, and 10 departments. The structure matches that of the consumer panel data.

  • Product Characteristics: all products include UPC code and description, brand, multi-pack, and size, as well as Nielsen codes for department, product group, and product module. Some products contain additional characteristics (e.g., flavor).

  • Geographies: scanner data from more than 35,000 participating grocery, drug, mass merchandiser, and other stores, covering more than half the total sales volume of US grocery and drug stores and more than 30 percent of all US mass merchandiser sales volume. Data cover the entire United States, divided into 52 major markets and includes the same codes as those used in the consumer panel data

  • Retail Channels: food, drug, mass merchandise, convenience, and liquor.


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