Kantar has just released its 2023 PoweRankings, which measures how well retailers and manufacturers work to support each other. Walmart, consistently named by manufacturers as the best-in-class retailer, comes in first place again. Kroger muscles past Target for the No. 2 spot, with Costco rising to No. 4, pushing past Amazon, No.5.
Kantar asks respondents at more than 70 retailers and nearly 40 manufacturers to rate the companies they deal with on strategic metrics, business fundamentals, and sustainability. The annual research analyzes the results to determine which companies set the standard among the general retailer-manufacturer partnership ecosystem.
Retailers named PepsiCo the best manufacturer to work with for the seventh year running, followed by Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé and General Mills.
Even as inflation has cooled, Kantar says this year’s results found that retailers are taking unexpected steps to define what value means to consumers and finding new ways to activate it with manufacturers. Some retailers are more intent on meeting the needs of cost-focused shoppers, while others focus more on quality-driven consumers.
Rising prices may have driven sales up, but retailers know that traffic and the number of trips people make to stores have eroded.
And changing demographics are making it more challenging to separate shoppers into “haves” and “have nots.”
“Those lines are blurring,” the report says. For example, Gen Z may have less purchasing power than young people in years past. But their tech savvy empowers them to expect better quality and service.
Conversely, higher-income shoppers keep trading down, creating “more competition to capture $100,000-plus households, even among retailers that typically service budget-conscious shoppers.”
Kantar expects that cost-consciousness to continue. “While the precise direction of inflation and consumer spending is unclear for the next 12-18 months, it is evident that U.S. shoppers across socioeconomic groups will continue to be mindful of how they can get the most for their money,” says Rohan Mazumdar, Kantar’s vice president, in the report. “The open question is how manufacturers and retailers will respond to this environment, but we expect both to refocus on growing units and trips.”