Chicago Booth Kilts Center for Marketing

Nielsen Datasets Transforming Academic Research in Marketing


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.

Last Updated 2/13/15