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04/07/2021

Survey: Consumers say Walmart is top grocer for value

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Woman shopper

For the first time since the pandemic began, U.S. shoppers are prioritizing value over speed when they shop.

Eighty-percent of U.S. consumers are seeking value when they shop, with the most popular (52%) action being shopping at stores with everyday low prices, according to a report by dunnhumby. In related findings, value-seeking consumers (70%) far outstrip quality seeking consumers (13%) in the United States.

Walmart continues to dominate all stores when it comes to value, according to the dunnhumby Consumer Pulse Survey, a year-long worldwide study of the impact of COVID-19 on customer attitudes.  Thirty-three percent of respondents mentioned Walmart first when asked which stores provide the best value, followed by Kroger and Aldi (both tied at 10%) and Amazon (6%.)  

Even though U.S. consumers’ confidence is beginning to rebound, consumers remain concerned with the cost of food. Forty-three percent said they are paying more than they did before the pandemic.

In other findings, Americans are now at the lowest level of worry about the virus (23%) since the crisis began and have dropped nine percentage points since November on the dunnhumby Worry Index. (Consumers return to value seeking aligns with the dunnhumby 2021 Grocery Retailer Preference Index which predicted that the importance of value would return once consumers worry about the virus dissipated.)

Other highlight from the report are below.

  • Consumers are utilizing multiple shopping tactics to seek value in the face of rising prices. After shopping at everyday low price stores (52%), the most popular shopping tactics by consumers are: only buying some brands on sale (36%), stocking up on products that are on sale or promotion (36%), searching online to find the best sales (34%), searching online for coupons (34%), and buying private brands when available (33%).
  • Online is now a fully adopted behavior and has grown stronger in every wave. Shopping in stores has dropped from 77% of all trips in March 2020 to 64% in February 2021, while shopping online (pickup and delivery) has increased from 23% in   March 2020 to 36% in February 2021. 
  • The pandemic driven changes in shopping behavior are stabilizing. From the beginning of the pandemic consumers shopped at stores when fewer people would be there (63%), made fewer trips to the store (74%) and spent more on each trip (38%).

By the end of February 2021, 49% of consumers shopped at fewer stores, a 14% drop, and 53% made fewer trips to the store, a 21% drop, and just 21% spent more on each trip, a drop of 17%. In fact, respondents said they made 6.4 trips (including online) to the store weekly in February 2021 compared to 3.8 in March 2020.

Survey respondents rebounding confidence aligns with the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey which increased more than 8% in March to its highest level in a year but still 7% below where it stood pre-pandemic.

Also, survey respondents concerns with the higher cost of food also aligns with Consumer Price Index Summary which reported that “food at home index increased 3.5% over the past 12 months.”

  • Consumers are utilizing multiple shopping tactics to seek value in the face of rising prices. After shopping at everyday low price stores (52%), the most popular shopping tactics by consumers are: only buying some brands on sale (36%), stocking up on products that are on sale or promotion (36%), searching online to find the best sales (34%), searching online for coupons (34%), and buying private brands when available (33%).
  • Online is now a fully adopted behavior and has grown stronger in every wave. Shopping in stores has dropped from 77% of all trips in March 2020 to 64% in February 2021, while shopping online (pickup and delivery) has increased from 23% in March 2020 to 36% in February 2021. 
  • Consumer satisfaction with shopping online has been ahead of, or equal to shopping in store since September 2020. In addition, survey respondents reported a 53% net satisfaction for pickup and 49% for delivery.

 

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