Millennials May Shop Walmart, But They're Not Lovin' It

According to a recent Forbes study, with contributor Pam Goodfellow, Millennials shop Walmart, which came as a “shock” to Walmart executives that the youngest generation of adult consumers perused their aisles and “like Walmart the best” over competitors, thereby implying that Millennials “love” shopping Walmart.

But maybe not! Recent analysis of 25 merchandise categories tracked by Prosper Insights reveals why Millennial shoppers are headed to Walmart as well as how this burgeoning group of shoppers really feels about the big discounter, pointing to some weaknesses that Walmart’s competitors could turn into opportunities, opines the report.

While Walmart lost some of its grip on shoppers since the recession (as well as to, the big discounter retains a huge footprint in the retail world: for every Target store in the U.S., there are about two and a half Walmart locations.

Millennials shop Walmart because Walmart is everywhere, says the report. With location a primary factor for Millennials (born between 1983 and 1997) to shop a particular retailer for a variety of merchandise categories, Walmart is an easy choice for these shoppers as well as the population at large. As such, Walmart is the retailer Millennials shop most often for 20 of the 25 merchandise categories examined for this analysis.

What’s interesting, says the report, are Walmart’s and Target’s Millennial customer shares compared to the overall average for U.S. adults. While Walmart is young shoppers’ top destination for most merchandise categories, Millennials’ propensity to shop Target (compared to the overall average) outpaces their tendency to shop Walmart (again, compared to average) for 24 of 25 categories.

While young shoppers are clearly driven to Walmart for groceries, the big discounter lags its competitor in several key merchandise categories.

Millennials Shopping Walmart Vs.Target (Select Merchandise Categories)

  • Walmart lags Target in Millennial customer share, indexing under 100 in Women’s, Men’s, and Children’s Apparel, in addition to Shoes, Linens/Bedding, Toys, and Health and Beauty.
  • Walmart, however, outpaces Target in Millennial customer share, indexing above 100 in Home Improvement, Electronics, Groceries, Prescription Drugs and Household Cleaning.

While Walmart is a top shopping destination for the youngest generation, their affinity for the big discounter is lacking.

In other words, they don’t necessarily shop Walmart because they want to; this cash-strapped, financially conservative group does so because they have to, says the report. For a better understanding of how Millennials feel about their Walmart shopping experiences, the Net Promoter Score metric of customer loyalty and satisfaction was examined by the study.

Compared to Walmart’s overall average Net Promoter Score (NPS) for each of the categories analyzed for this report, Millennials’ scores for Walmart fell below the benchmark for 80% of the merchandise groupings. But, Millennials’ Net Promoter Scores for Target were higher than their Walmart-shopping counterparts’ ratings in 24 of 25 categories; all but Frozen Foods.

And, finally, among recent shoppers,

  • Millennials rate Walmart with a general NPS of 10.0%, at least positive says the report.
  • Millennials who recently perused Target awarded the rival discounter a score three times higher (36.3%).
  • But, compared to Amazon’s NPS: 64.6%, the report says that Millennials loveAmazon, likeTarget, and tolerate Walmart.  

With already tenuous ties to the big discounter, it appears that as the spending power of the Millennial generation grows, they’ll begin to move beyond Walmart as well, concludes the report.

For more information about this Forbes study, please visit here.



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