Which Regional Retailer Outranked Amazon as Top E-Commerce Grocer?

Index from dunnhumby takes customer needs, emotional bonds into account
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
Emily Crowe
dunhumby index
H-E-B, Amazon and Amazon Fresh took the top three spots in dunhumby's first e-commerce grocer index.

In its inaugural "eCommerce Retailer Preference Index," dunnhumby has named H-E-B as the top ranked e-commerce grocer, followed closely by Amazon and Amazon Fresh, respectively. The study examines the $100 billion U.S. e-commerce grocery market and is part of dunnhumby’s latest strategic market analysis.

The rankings are based on a consumer survey-informed statistical model that predicts how retailers perform on customer needs that matter most, as well as emotional bonds with online shoppers. Preference driver and emotional connection scores came from an online survey of 3,000 U.S. households that shopped online at least once in the 30 days prior, with the five drivers of customer preference for e-commerce being owned digital asset usage, ease and reliability, substitutes, product and price.

Following H-E-B, Amazon and Amazon Fresh in the ranking are, respectively, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sprouts Farmers Market. H-E-B had the highest level of emotional connection and online share of wallet among its customer base, according to dunnhumby, and its customers migrated their spending online the most after the pandemic hit.

“H-E-B’s impressive performance proves that it’s possible to compete and win against Amazon when it comes to grocery e-commerce,” said Grant Steadman, president of North America for dunnhumby. “Their success offers mid-size and regional retailers a roadmap on how to succeed online. 

“H-E-B’s e-commerce journey goes back to 2015, when they first started with curbside pick-up, and they have since built up a powerful online ecosystem,” Steadman continued. “The combination of a simple and easy to use shopping experience with a fantastic emotional connection with customers shows how grocers can thrive in this multichannel landscape.”

The other top eight grocers in the index have scale and size on their side, with more funds to dedicate to the e-commerce experience without relying on third-party companies. As far as e-commerce success, dunnhumby found that the most important drivers are owned digital asset usage and ease and reliability. 

“This means that banners that scored highest on these two drivers, also had the strongest emotional and e-commerce performance in this study,” the company stated. “Walmart, Amazon and Amazon Fresh are the three top ranked retailers for owned digital asset usage. Sam’s Club, Amazon Fresh and Aldi are the top three retailers for ease and reliability.”

While COVID did accelerate e-commerce grocery growth, dunnhumby further found that rising inflation, a subsiding pandemic and more consumer mobility are likely to slow e-commerce growth.

The largest privately held employer in Texas, San Antonio-based H-E-B has more than 420 stores and 145,000 employees in Texas and Mexico. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100.

[Click here to register for dunnhumby's July 21 webinar, "Winning in eCommerce: Insights from the dunnhumby eCommerce Retailer Preference Index."]

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