Consumers Making Fewer Shopping Trips, but Shopping More at Supercenters

March 26, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Local & Directories / Small Biz | Retail & E-Commerce

With gas prices rising and other economic pressures building, shopping frequency across most retail channels is flat or in decline -?but supercenter shopping has increased, reaching 65%?household penetration?in 2007, according to a Nielsen consumer study.

Among the findings:


  • American consumers make an average of 164 shopping trips a year. They made 181 annual trips in ’01 and 170 in ’06.
  • Household penetration of mass merchandise stores, which hit 93% in ’01, is now at 82%.
  • Dollar stores are the only other category besides supercenters to undergo a significant increase in household penetration – from 59% in ’01 to 64% in ’07.

“Long-term trends show us that all value retailers – supercenters, warehouse clubs, and dollar stores – are gaining in their quest to grab shoppers,” said Todd Hale, SVP of Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services.

“Keep in mind, however, that some US grocers reported stronger same-store-sales growth than supercenters or dollar stores in 2007. Proximity to shoppers and a healthy focus on convenience and value helped many of these grocers deliver solid results.”

Fewer Trips, but More Stores

Consumers’ desire for value and convenience has driven the increase in store openings, Nielsen said:


  • Overall grocery store count went up to 31,929 (’07) from 30,682 (’01) – a 4% increase mostly powered by certain grocery segments (deep discount retailers, high-end or specialty grocers).
  • Convenience/gas stores (up 17.5%), supercenters (92%), warehouse clubs (27%) and dollar stores (46%) have grown more aggressively.


“Bustling” families – large households with older children (six and up) – are the biggest spenders in supercenters, warehouse clubs, mass merchandising and grocery stores, while older singles and older couples prefer drug stores, Nielsen noted.

“Competition for shopper attention is fierce,” said Hale. “Success will come to retailers who define themselves by who they sell to and how they sell them, not by what they sell, while success will come to manufacturers who define themselves by who they sell to and the issues they solve for their consumers and retail partners.”

Note: A supercenter is a large food/drug combination store and mass merchandiser under a single roof; a warehouse club is a giant store selling merchandise in larger packages at low prices and in which customers must buy a membership in order to shop;?a dollar store is a smaller store that sells inexpensive items, many at one dollar or less.


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