Market Force has released new research covering the top U.S. grocery brands among consumers.
With rampant inflation, shoppers are citing price and value as reasons why they are either switching where they shop or splitting their business between multiple grocery stores. Sensitivity to pricing is a major factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions and it is common for them to split their spending across three or more grocery providers.
According to consumers, Walmart is the winner in terms of wallet share, Kroger and Aldi rank second and third, although there is a gap with Walmart leading by a factor of almost two times over Kroger. This margin has widened since 2017, when Walmart’s lead was at 1.75 times over Kroger, showing Walmart’s continued market penetration over the past five years.
H-E-B shoppers noted that they spent 78 percent of their grocery dollars with the brand, making it a clear leader in terms of their ability to capture wallet share versus their local competitors. From a value perspective, the winner was Aldi with a top box score of 90 percent.
Of the key decision criteria that drive consumers to choose a grocery store, convenience ranks at No. 1 and was selected by 62 percent of respondents. Value was the second most chosen factor at 53 percent and good sales and promotions was selected 44 percent of the time. Clearly, economic factors are important as consumers consider where they shop.
The impact of in-store execution
According to the study, grocery customers’ satisfaction and behavior (in terms of the brands they shop regularly) is dictated by the brand’s ability to facilitate a problem-free experience. It is characterized by the availability of a large assortment of products, having a clean store and enabling a fast checkout. The standout brands include Trader Joe’s, Smiths and Wegmans. Large, established brands that have established trust with customers include H-E-B, Publix and Trader Joe’s.
COVID-19’s waning has corresponded with a slowing in the growth of customers opting for grocery delivery (down from a high of 27 percent during the height of COVID-19, to about 10 percent today). But technology is still on the rise with more customers using an app to order groceries for pick-up at curbside or a store designated pick up area. Market Force’s study sees this fulfillment method increasing from 16-23 percent of grocery customers.
Over two-thirds of these customers say they are very satisfied with this alternate method of shopping for groceries. As technology continues to be applied to the grocery shopping experience, Market Force predicts continued growth in these newer shopping and fulfillment channels.
Top performing grocery brands
This year’s top brands who scored best on the customer loyalty index, a blended score combining satisfaction with the most recent visit with likelihood to recommend was Trader Joe’s with a CLI of 84 percent. H-E-B came in second with a score of 83 percent and Woodman’s Market came in third with a score of 81 percent.
Market Force also asked customers if they perceive their grocer of choice to be best in class. For this accolade, two brands stood out above the rest. Wegman’s came in first with 76 percent agreement, and H-E-B was a close second at 73 percent agreement.
To download a copy of this study, visit marketforce.com/grocery-research-2023-download.
The 46 brands featured in the study include: ACME Markets, Albertson’s, ALDI, Amazon Fresh, BJ’s, Costco, Dillons, Food Lion, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Giant Eagle, Giant Food Stores, Grocery Outlet, H-E-B, Hannaford Supermarkets, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Food Stores, Ingles Markets, Jewel Osco, King Soopers, Kroger, Label, Lidl, Market Basket, Meijer, Price Chopper, Publix Super Markets, Ralph’s, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Schnuck Markets, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Smith’s, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Stop & Shop, Target, Trader Joe’s Market, Vons, Walmart, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Whole Foods Market, WinCo Foods, Winn-Dixie Stores and Woodman’s Markets.