As the economy has weakened, traffic at club stores targeting budget-conscious shoppers has increased at a rate faster than US population growth – with upscale consumers driving the increase, according to new data from Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI), writes Retailer Daily.
The number of people who shopped at club stores such as Costco, B.J.’s and Sam’s Club increased 3.6% from September 2006 to April 2008, while the total adult population increased just over 1% in the same time period, according to MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer.
Moreover, the number of club store shoppers with household annual incomes of $75,000 grew 11.9% in the same time period.
Almost four in 10 US adults (39%) say they shopped at club stores in the last six months.
The growth in club store traffic is being driven by upscale consumers – and club store shoppers are upscale in general, MRI found:
- Consumers who shopped in a club store in the last six months are 38% more likely than the average adult to have household incomes of $75,000 or greater.
- They are 26% more likely to have graduated college.
- They are 32% more likely to hold management, business or financial operations occupations.
Being a parent is also an influence in shopping in club stores: Parents are 9% more likely than the population as a whole to have shopped in this type of store in the last six months.
“Upscale consumers have always been a large part of club stores’ customer base. It’s now clear that a greater number of affluent consumers are being careful with their hard-earned dollars during this economic downturn,” said Anne Marie Kelly, VP of marketing and strategic planning at MRI. “Marketers may wish to take note that price-sensitive strategies and messages will increasingly resonate with even the well-heeled.”