retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Consumer research firm Scarborough is out with a study suggesting that, as the Washington Post reports, " If you tend to vote Democrat, odds are you stocked up at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. If you call yourself a Republican, you were more likely to stock up at Wal-Mart or Costco. Independent voters are more likely to get their groceries at traditional grocery stores, like Food Lion, Publix or Albertson’s … The cross-referenced data show voters who always vote in local and statewide elections are more likely to shop at warehouse grocery stores, like Costco and Sam’s Club, and specialty grocery stores, like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Those who don’t vote in local and statewide elections are more likely to get groceries from big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart."

Other conclusions from the Scarborough study:

• "The wealthier a household, the more likely its residents shop at a specialty grocery store. Households with incomes above $250,000 a year were more than twice as likely to shop at the more expensive specialty stores than the average consumer."

• "Households with one or more teenagers were much more likely to shop at big box or warehouse stores than they were at specialty stores."

• "Younger shoppers like bigger stores. Millennials represent a larger share of big box customers than any other kind of shopping center. Generation X consumers, who are between 30 and 49, make up a larger portion of shoppers overall — meaning they’re more likely to be doing the shopping for a household. Baby Boomers, between 50-69, shop more at warehouse stores than at big boxes, while the Silent Generation, those over age 70, are most likely just to head to the traditional grocery store."
KC's View:
I always think that such studies are both silly and fun.

For instance, I live in a town with a very successful Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, as well as a busy Walmart and Costco just over the line in the next town … and yet the population is more than 50 percent Republican, less than 20 percent Democrat, with the rest being unaffiliated.

One reads the stories as much to see where one varies from the stereotype and conforms to it … and the real lesson these days is that retailers should not think in terms of stereotypes, should not try to fit people into neat boxes, and should realize that individual shopper behavior can vary widely from what is perceived as group behavior.