Supercenters Upstage Grocery Stores in Shopper Popularity

Supercenters Upstage Grocery Stores in Shopper Popularity

According to a new study from ACNielsen consumers made fewer trips to traditional grocery stores in 2004 as they sought greater savings, variety, or convenience in other retail outlets. The "Channel Blurring" study showed that the average American consumer made 69 trips to the grocery store in 2004--down from 72 in 2003 and 92 in 1995, the first year of the ACNielsen annual analysis of consumer shopping patterns.

Todd Hale, senior vice president, ACNielsen U.S., said, "... as a channel, consumers are shifting their trips to formats where they can either save more money or accomplish more of their shopping in one trip."

Dollar stores have enjoyed the strongest long-term growth in household penetration--driven by the channel's rapid expansion--while supercenters have grown the most in terms of shopping trips. The traditional mass merchandise channel continued its losses in both household penetration and shopping frequency in 2004, as more mass merchandisers either converted traditional stores to supercenters or closed poor performing stores. Shopping frequency in warehouse club stores, drug stores, and convenience stores remained flat. Both drug stores and convenience stores slipped slightly in terms of household penetration.

Household Penetration(%)Trips Per Year
2001200220032004 2001200220032004
Grocery100% 100 100 9975 73 72 69
Mass Merchandise93 91 91 8923 22 21 20
Drug86 86 85 8415 15 15 15
Supercenter 53 55 54 5418 21 25 27
Dollar 59 62 66 6711 12 13 13
Warehouse 50 52 51 5110 10 11 11
Convenience/Gas45 46 45 441514 15 15

Source: ACNielsen Homescan 52 weeks ending 12/25/04

According to Hale: "One hopeful sign for the grocery channel is that several chains have rolled out or are experimenting with new store formats. Others are increasing their use of micro-merchandising and marketing to better meet the unique needs of shoppers within their trade areas. Only time will tell, but those efforts toward differentiation may help stem the loss of shoppers to other formats."

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