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Trader Joe’s takes top spot in ‘brand intimacy’ ranking

Trader Joe’s took the top spot in MBLM’s 12th annual Brand Intimacy Study.

A popular grocer bests other retailers when it comes to making emotional connections with customers.

Trader Joe’s topped MBLM’s 12th annual Brand Intimacy Study (in the retail category), with a brand intimacy quotient score of 59.9. Costco came in second with a score of 57.5. Rounding out the top five were H&M (57.2), Amazon (55.7) and Whole Foods Market (54.2). (See list of top 20 retail brands at end of article.)

The retail industry ranked third overall, behind technology /telecom and media/entertainment, with an average brand intimacy quotient score of 47.5, well above the cross-industry average of 36.8. The ranking is based on MBLM’s artificial intelligence-driven analysis of 1.4 billion words used by consumers in discussions surrounding more than 600 brands. (Brand intimacy is defined in the report as the emotional science that measures the bonds consumers form with the brands they use and love.)

In addition to taking the top spot among retail brands, Trader Joe’s ranked seven among all brands in the study. The grocer outperformed the other retail brands with a strong association to the indulgence archetype, centered around moments of pampering and gratification, as well as 50% of its customers having an emotional connection with the brand.

“Trader Joe’s is winning customer hearts and minds not only as the highest performing retailer in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2022 Study, but also among the top 10 out of hundreds of brands across industries,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “Its focus on unique offerings, affordable prices, friendly staff and creating its own unique ethos, is effectively connecting with customers, who see it as a preferred alternative to generic, anonymous grocery store brands.” 

Overall, the study shows that consumers have increased the brands they are forming emotional connections with by 9% since the pandemic started. They are also building deeper connections with those brands, as brand performance has increased by 19% since COVID, highlighting that people are bonding with brands more deeply.

The Top Retail Rankings in MBLM Brand Intimacy Study 2022 are below:

1. Trader Joe’s

2. Costco


4. Amazon

5. Whole Foods Market,

6. Waitrose & Partners

7. Aldi

8. eBay

9. Walmart

10. Ikea

11. Sephora

12. The Home Depot

13.  Marks & Spencer

14. Nordstrom

15. Target

16. Lowe’s Cos.

17. 7-Eleven

18. Macy’s

19. Boots

20. Bloomingdale’s

To see more about Trader Joe’s performance, as well as more detail on H&M and Ikea, MBLM has also released on article, “Retail Roundup.”

To download the Brand Intimacy 2022 Study or explore the rankings click here.

To read the study methodology, click here.

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