With its focus on everyday low prices and savings galore, you might think couponers and bargain hunters would be flocking to Walmart. But a recent survey says that’s not necessarily true. It may seem counterintuitive, but big-box bargain hunters are apparently finding their deals not at low-priced Walmart, but at higher-priced Target.
In its report “The Supercenter Grocery Shopper: U.S. Consumer Patterns at Walmart, Target, Meijer, and Fred Meyer,” the market research publisher Packaged Facts surveyed shoppers who frequent some of the country’s biggest big-box stores, and those who prefer grocery stores instead. Some of their findings are not surprising – but some are.
First, the researchers examine the type of people who shop at supercenters. “SuperTarget Consumers More Likely to Live in Affluent Homes,” they find, and “Household Income Less Affluent for Walmart Shoppers Compared to Others.” No real surprise there, though the report contains interesting nuggets like “more than half of SuperTarget consumers (50.4%) come from households with an income of at least $75,000,” and “56.6% of consumers in the $250,000-plus bracket do not shop at Walmart.” The clientele of regional chains Meijer and Fred Meyer fall somewhere in between.
So Target shoppers have money, it seems – but they don’t easily part with it. “Despite being the preferred supercenter for affluent consumers, SuperTarget shoppers are among the most likely to be swayed by coupons to try new food products,” the report finds, and they “aren’t afraid to look for clearance items. They are also the most likely to be drawn to a store because of a sale,” and “are the most likely to shop around for the best specials or bargains on products they want.”
Fred Meyer shoppers, the report finds, “are the least likely to be swayed by coupons or sales.” Instead, “these consumers place a premium on paying more money for quality goods.” And that’s a factor for those who prefer grocery stores as well. “Approximately 41.7% of grocery store consumers claim that price isn’t the most important factor, but rather it’s getting exactly what they want that matters most,” the survey found. “More than half (61.6%) say it’s worth paying extra money for quality goods.”
So where does that leave Walmart? You might think those who are most interested in saving money would be shopping there. But one look at its current marketing campaign is enough to prove otherwise. Walmart has largely positioned itself as the place where you can save without having to bother with coupons and sales. So those who do like to bother with coupons and sales may not bother going to Walmart. Target’s more affluent shoppers may not “need” a deal as much as Walmart shoppers do, but they wager that Target’s weekly sales and plentiful store coupons will provide better deals than just grabbing whatever they need off Walmart’s shelves (if they can even find anything on Walmart’s shelves).
When it comes to both Walmart and Target, plus Meijer and Fred Meyer, the report concludes that “supercenter shoppers have different needs and motives than those who shop primarily at conventional supermarkets, discount grocery stores, farmers markets, or health food stores.” It turns out they’re all interested in saving money, and they enjoy the one-stop shopping that supercenters provide. Which supercenter they choose to shop at, though, says a lot about just how savvy a saver they really are.