The Battle for Primary Grocery Store Supremacy

Like all aspects of life over the past 18 months, grocery shopping has changed significantly. The grocery store we consider nearest and dearest to our hearts has changed, as well. While the great increase in online grocery shopping is well-noted, there has also been a shift in shopper’s primary grocery shopping channel.   

According to FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2021, in early 2020, 44% of shoppers considered a supermarket to be their primary store, while only 26% considered a mass merchandiser to be their primary store. Flipping ahead a year, supermarkets’ share of being the grocery shopper’s primary store decreased slightly to 39% (-5pts), while mass merchandisers increased to 33% (+7pts). August’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends COVID-19 Tracker research confirms this trend is holding steady.   

At the same time, a greater percentage of mass merchandiser shoppers (48%) have placed an online order from their mass merchandiser in the past three months than supermarket shoppers have at their supermarket (31%). When looking across all shoppers, the share of shoppers placing an online order at a mass merchandiser increased by 26 points (compared to +11 points for supermarkets). Many shoppers are choosing to shop online at mass stores, perhaps leading to their increased share of being the grocery shopper’s primary store.