CHICAGO — Amazon took the top spot in the fourth annual dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index (RPI), partly on the strength of its business in a year dominated by COVID-19. Target’s own performance in response to the pandemic allowed it to break into the top quartile of the index for the first time, dunnhumby said.
The top 14 grocery retailers with the highest overall customer preference index scores are: (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.”
The overall RPI ranking evaluates retailer performance on seven drivers of customer preference: Price, Quality, Digital, Operations, Convenience, Discounts, Rewards & Information and Speed. The retailers who focus their business on superior value perception or Value Core — defined by the strongest combination of price and quality — tend to have the most financial success and the strongest emotional bond with customers. This year, dunnhumby also included the Covid Momentum Metric in the calculation. This metric results from a statistical model that predicts how retailer execution on the same preference drivers impact short-term financial success, namely market share gains or losses during 2020.
The study identified speed as the common denominator for grocery retailers with superior COVID momentum. Retailers well positioned to deliver on speed tended to gain more market share, visit share and have higher year-over-year sales growth in 2020, even if they weren’t as strong on price and/or quality. According to the more than 10,000 U.S. households surveyed, speed was important for two reasons: the pain point of slower shopping brought on by the safety measures retailers put in place during COVID, and the fact that a faster shopping trip is seen as inherently safer.