Walmart’s Reign Fading?

“How America Shops” survey shows Walmart shoppers find lowest prices elsewhere.  

The Walmart shopper’s value perception has dramatically changed, according to a new research report that surveyed nearly 1,500 Walmart Shoppers. A continuing recessionary mindset, coupled with lower priced competitors are driving shoppers to other retail destinations, according to WSL/Strategic Retail’s How America Shops report.

“Our report suggests that Walmart needs to better address the demands of its shopper today in order to regain relevance,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. Candace Corlett, president of WSL/Strategic Retail continued, “At the same time, consumer product companies and other manufacturers need to analyze their exposure and re-evaluate the way they do business with Walmart. The world’s largest retailer is certainly not going to disappear, however, it will no longer dominate the U.S. retail landscape the way it once did.”

Significant findings of the report include:

  • The price king has been toppled. Some 86% of Walmart shoppers no longer believe Walmart has the lowest prices. Every brick and mortar retailers lowered prices and shouted sales throughout the recession, while the Internet became the go-to place for shoppers in search of the lowest price. If Walmart no longer stands for everyday low price (EDLP), what does it stand for?
  • Where did the Walmart shopper go? The Walmart Shopper is finding better shopping elsewhere, including dollar stores, supermarkets, and other mass merchants. The recession accelerated shoppers’ respect for the dollar stores. Walmart shoppers, particularly its most frequent shoppers, agree that dollar stores have lower prices than Walmart, more national brands than they used to carry, are nicer to shop, and are more accepted by everyone as they are now mainstream.
  • The recession is not over for Walmart shoppers. Some 82% of the retailer’s shoppers reported they haven’t seen any improvement in their financial situation in the past year, and 70% don’t expect their finances to get better next year. The economic downturn, credit crunch and higher gas prices, among other factors, squeezed the discretionary spending out of the wallets of Walmart shoppers.

WSL Strategic Retail conducted the Internet survey from April 14-20, 2011. The survey included 1,516 respondents recruited from an online panel of adults age 18 and over. Some 1,437 respondents (95%) qualified as Walmart shoppers – those who have ever shopped Walmart – and form the sample of Walmart shoppers in this report.



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