When I was growing up, my mom would do our family’s grocery shopping at several different stores. She’d purchase fresh produce at one, meat at another and non-perishable items like cleaning supplies at another. Today, she only goes to one store. She’s part of a growing trend of consumers frequenting big box stores rather than traditional grocers to mark off items on their grocery list.
Consumers are increasingly turning to big box stores like Walmart and Target, as well as, convenience stores, dollar stores and pharmacy chains to meet their grocery needs, Forbes reports.
A new study by retail design firm King Retail Solutions and the University of Arizona’s Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing found that 77% of the 1,200 shoppers surveyed bought groceries from a non-grocer last year. And 94% of those shoppers said they would continue to buy groceries at the same stores in 2014.
Consumers pointed to price and convenience as their top reason to shop at stores like Target and Walmart rather than a traditional supermarket. One Walmart in Denver recently announced it would start letting customers order groceries online then pick them up at the store; what’s more convenient than that?
In fact, Target and Walmart were ranked at the top of the KRS study for most popular places to shop that aren’t traditional grocers. Next in line were pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS followed by Costco, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, 7-Eleven and Kmart, as well as, local farmers markets and food stalls. It should be noted that the study was conducted prior to the December data breach of millions of Target customers’ personal information.
It’s not just canned, preservative-filled foods shoppers are getting at non-traditional grocers, either. The study found that consumers ranked the fresh prepared meals at Walmart and Target above those available at Safeway, Kroger, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
The increase in patronage to big box and other nontraditional grocers doesn’t mean the end of traditional grocers. In fact, a separate study by Market Force Information of 6,600 consumers last year found traditional supermarkets topped consumers’ favorite places to shop for groceries.
In that study, consumers ranked Trader Joe’s as their preferred stop for grocery shopping, citing the friendly atmosphere, wide selection and fast checkout. Other traditional grocers that topped the list were Wegman’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods Market and Publix.
Only Costco and Target ranked in the top 10 for favorite grocery stores in the Market Force study. Walmart landed near the bottom of consumers’ lists of favorite places to shop because of low-quality produce, unsanitary marketplaces and crowded stores.
No matter where you choose to shop make sure you go prepared with a list and the latest tips and tricks to a better shopping experience, from how to pick the best produce to choosing your shopping cart wisely.