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Grocery Turmoil Evident in dunnhumby’s New Retailer Preference Index

Grocery Turmoil Evident in dunnhumby’s New Retailer Preference Index
Shopper perceptions of safety and speed propelled Amazon to the top of dunnhumby’s fourth annual Retailer Preference Index.

The fourth annual installment of dunnhumby’s Retailer Preference Index and the leading grocers it ranks reflects a disrupted food retailing world filled with massive change in how and where consumers shopped for food.

The most notable change in the 2021 ranking released on Jan. 11, is the emergence of Amazon as the most preferrred grocery retailer among the 56 companies evaluated. It moved past last year’s winner H-E-B and runner up Trader Joe’s to take the top spot in the overall rankings. Another notable development saw Target, for the first time, break into the top quartile of the Retailer Preference Index. Target was the only newcomer to the first quartile overall, jumping six spots to move out of the second quartile, a spot it occupied the previous three years.

(Join dunnhumby CEO Guillaume Bacuvier and Progressive Grocer for insights into the retailer rankings during a webinar at 2 p.m. Jan. 28


The overall RPI ranking evaluates retailer performance on seven drivers of customer preference: price, quality, digital, operations, convenience, speed and discounts, rewards and information. This year, dunnhumby also included a new “Covid Momentum Metric” that results from a statistical model that predicts how retailer execution on the seven preference drivers impacted market share gains or losses during 2020. As a result of dunnhumby’s unique statistical model, combined with a survey of 10,000 U.S. shoppers, the top 14 grocery retailers with the highest overall customer preference index scores were:

  1. Amazon
  2. H-E-B
  3. Trader Joe’s
  4. Wegmans
  5. Aldi
  6. Market Basket
  7. Sam’s Club
  8. Costco
  9. Publix
  10. Target
  11. Fresh Thyme
  12. ShopRite
  13. Sprouts Farmers Market
  14. Walmart

“Covid has led to record highs and lows in economic metrics, along with huge shifts in where and how consumers shop food retail, changing the competitive trajectories of retailers who were winning and those who were struggling before the pandemic. As a result, we viewed 2020 through a different lens than we’ve viewed the grocery industry in previous years,” said Grant Steadman, President of North America for dunnhumby. “Amazon accelerated past every other retailer on our Covid Momentum Metric and customer safety ratings, due to its speed to shop and virtual store format. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we should expect value perception to come back strongly. Beyond Covid, retailers with customer first strategies will best adapt to changing behaviors and deliver what matters most to their customers.”

In addition to ranking the top overall retailers, dunnhumby also ranked the top food retailers within the seven specific areas used to tabulated the overall ranking. For example, below are the seven measured areas and the top three retailers within each. They Include:

Price: Aldi, Market Basket, WinCo Foods.

Quality: Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Thyme.

Digital: Amazon, Target, Walmart

Operations: Costco, Market Basket, BJ’s

Convenience: Walmart, Market Basket, Publix

Speed: Fareway, Amazon, Aldi

Discounts, Rewards and Information: Fry’s, Kroger, Price Chopper



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