Gone are the days when grocery shopping takes place in one supermarket.
According to a SymphonyIRI Group report, 67 per cent of Americans now visit at least five “channels” for food, everything from supermarkets, drug and dollar stores.
Only 3 per cent visit only one or two channels, according to the study.
Supermarkets today in fact only get about half of U.S. grocery sales, says an article in the Boston Globe.
Walmart, which only introduced its Supercenters in 1988, now gets 25 per cent of the food sales.
The rest goes to Target, Walgreens, CVS, and dollar stores, all of whom are adding more space for food on their shelves.
John Rand, a senior vice-president at research firm Kantar Retail told the Globe, “Consumers are splitting the ticket more than they ever did. They’re going to multiple outlets, not all of which are supermarkets, and sometimes even multiple supermarkets.”
Not surprisingly, local stores are struggling to compete in this market.
Susan Viamari, author of the SymphonyIRI report told the Globe that supermarkets are in the toughest times in recent years.
“Traditional grocery stores now are really under fire by other channels looking to compete for share of stuff that has always been their bread and butter, no pun intended. You can get groceries in so many places that it’s intensely competitive right now,” she said.
Supermarkets are responding to this new reality by retooling their selection, the layout of their stores, and tailoring marketing efforts to their best customers.
As a supermarket CEO said recently: “Today’s customer has all the power.”