WASHINGTON -- Consumers are increasingly sourcing groceries from nontraditional store formats, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture titled Store Formats and Patterns in Household Grocery Purchases. These nontraditional locations include supercenters and dollar stores. Customer demographics and types of groceries purchased also vary across store formats, the report found.
Here are three insights from the USDA’s grocery report that have implications for convenience-store retailers …
1. Nontraditional formats
In the past 10 to 15 years, U.S. consumers have shifted their food purchases away from conventional supermarkets and toward nontraditional formats, the report states. The supermarket share of total grocery expenditures is falling, while supercenter usage for grocery items is growing. Supercenters such as Wal-Mart captured most of the share lost by supermarkets, the report says.
From 2008 through 2012, share of club-store sales grew from 7% to 9%, and dollar-store share increased nearly one percentage point. The report attributes the growth in dollar-store share to the efforts made by many chains of this format to increase their food offerings during the recession and subsequent economic recovery. The rest of the formats measured—including convenience stores—showed almost no change for share of grocery expenditures from 2008 to 2012.
2. Income levels
Income levels correlate with consumers’ decisions to shop at particular store formats, the report shows. Low-income consumers are more likely than high-income consumers to shop for groceries at supercenters, convenience stores and dollar stores. High-income consumers are more likely to shop at conventional supermarkets and club stores.
3. Types of food
The store formats at which consumers shop influence what they purchase, according to the report.
Households purchase the most healthful foods at supermarkets and club stores and the least healthful foods at drug stores, convenience stores and dollar stores, according to the report. More specifically, expenditures on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources are highest at supermarkets and club stores and lowest at c-stores, drug stores and dollar stores.
Click here to read the complete report.