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Which Grocers Are Winning in Today’s High-Price Environment?

Latest dunnhumby data reveals best-ranked retailers for inflationary times
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
dunnhumby rpi
A new report from dunnhumby reveals consumers' assessment of leaders in grocery savings.

Data science firm dunnhumby released the results of its latest Retailer Preference Index (RPI) showing that New England’s Market Basket is tops in consumers’ minds for savings.

According to dunnhumby’s findings, Market Basket edged out 69 retailers – including some of the nation's largest coast-to-coast chains – in the RPI rankings for inflation. In fact, the Tewksbury, Mass.-based grocer was the only retailer to place in the top five for both price perception and mass promotions perceptions.

“Market Basket has shown itself to be the best performing retailer in these times of economic uncertainty, by being the best in the country at saving customers money while simultaneously building stronger emotional connections with their shoppers and thereby increasing their shopper visits faster than most other retailers,” said Grant Steadman, president of North America for dunnhumby.

After Market Basket, other grocery banners that scored with shoppers during inflationary times include the following, in descending order:

“Retailers who are focusing their customer value proposition on saving customers money are best positioned to meet the challenges of this prolonged period of inflation and economic uncertainty,” added Steadman.

The new report confirms that inflation is weighing on consumers. According to the analysis, the driver of “save me money” is five times more important than the next most top-of-mind factors, including “save me time” and “make it better.” That said, on a longer-term basis, the discount driver is one and a half more times more pivotal than delivering high quality, underscoring the balance of satisfaction and savings.

There were some surprises uncovered in the latest inflation-based RPI. For example, dunnhumby's information showed that although Amazon is well positioned for long-term success, its value proposition during this period of economic uncertainty is “no better than the average grocer.” Amazon was not included in the first quartile, as its web traffic dipped 6.5% this year to date. dunnbumby also noted that H-E-B came in at #12 in these rankings. 

In addition to identifying the top-ranked retailers for price purposes, dunnhumby took a look at other types of retailers. For example, grocers that don’t lead on base prices can stay in the game by using best practices for promotions, communications, personalization and private brands, while discounters must bear in mind that their customers tend to cross-shop with other discount banners, the researchers pointed out. Meanwhile, the report confirms that the recent high-inflation climate is impacting sales at premium stores and even at club stores, as shoppers want to spread out their spend across more visits with smaller baskets.

The special edition inflation RPI report is part of an ongoing series published by dunnhumby and is available online.

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