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Customers crown HEB top U.S. grocer

January 14, 2020

The 2020 Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index ranks HEB the No. 1 U.S. grocery retailer. Dunnhumby surveyed 7,000 U.S. households to determine which of the 60 largest grocery retailers have the strongest combination of financial performance and consumer emotional sentiment. The San Antonio–based chain bounced Trader Joe’s from the top spot.

The 10 best U.S. grocers, based on customer sentiment

  1. HEB
  2. Trader Joe’s
  3. Amazon
  4. Market Basket
  5. Wegmans
  6. Costco
  7. Aldi
  8. Sam’s Club
  9. Walmart
  10. Publix

HEB’s move into first place, which is “due to sustained focus and excellence on assortment relevance and private brand,” according to the customer-data firm, aligns with Dunnhumby’s findings that some regional grocers are getting stronger and going toe-to-toe with leading nontraditional retailers.

“One of the most important findings is that leading traditional regional grocers are experiencing a resurgence in customer preference by winning with relevance and convenience,” said Jose Luis Gomes, head of Dunnhumby’s North America division. “If they can compete on price and quality, the value core for grocers, they are especially well-positioned to fend off the growing threat of nontraditional players. This also leaves them better insulated against an economic downturn. In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to winning in this market, and retailers with customer-first strategies are most likely to fare best.”

For the third year in a row, price and quality remain the most important customer needs retailers must meet, according to the study. And price is the more important half of the value core for shoppers of almost all income levels.

Dunnhumby evaluates retailer performance on price, quality, digital, operations, convenience, discounts and rewards, and speed. Those retailers that focus their business on superior value perception, as defined by the strongest combination of price and quality, tend to have the most financial success and the strongest emotional bond with customers, the survey says.

By Duke Ratliff

Managing Editor

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