Only 20% of Walmart Shoppers Also Shop at Whole Foods Market

The 20% figure here is a cross-shopping percentage.

Say what?

Cross-shopping is a shopper marketing term that measures shopper-base overlap from the perspective of one retailer’s shopper base. So…the title means that only 20% of Walmart shoppers in the past 30 days have also purchased groceries from Whole Foods in the same time period (Source: Hartman Group 2020 Food Sourcing in America Study). 

This cross-shopping group has grown 25% since 2018. Wow. That’s 10% of all US adult grocery shoppers (Ibid.). 

I’ve studied this cross-shopper population before and discovered that they often trade up for fresh/perishables and artisan goods at Whole Foods while buying the bulk of their groceries at Walmart (i.e., processed foods). They generally do this for special occasions, holidays, and parties. The separation from regular pricing they experience is part of the point. They also are more likely to discover new CPG brands at Whole Foods in everyday categories but then wait until they find them cheaper elsewhere. They tend to see Whole Foods as a special occasion CPG place, skewing artisan more than the premium price for everyday food, drink, and HBA items.

The existence of this cross-shopping group might seem like a green light to get distributed at Walmart (as if the higher wholesale case price you’ll garner isn’t enough temptation). But please don’t do this until you’re at least in Phase 3 or Phase 4, usually Phase 4. The reason is that this is a very price-sensitive shopper group within the broader premium CPG world. You have time to reach them at the price point they want, much later, when you can afford to relax your pricing and take the gross profit hit per unit that this will deliver to your P&L. Be patient, despite the massive size they represent.

For now, though, don’t misread this statistic. It’s another group, the tiny group of Whole Foods shoppers who also shop at Walmart in the past 30-days that will want to see you merchandised at Walmart early on (minus those who also go to Costco). 

Dr. James Richardson

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