There were a mind-boggling 63,385 supermarket and grocery businesses in the United States as of 2023, according to data from industry research firm IBISWorld. But a brand-new study reveals that one chain tops them all—and it's not one of America's beloved national retailers like Costco, Trader Joe's, or Sam's Club.
Data analytics firm dunnhumby just released its seventh annual Retailer Preference Index (RPI), ranking H-E-B as the top grocery retailer in the United States. This is the third time that the regional grocery chain, which is concentrated in Texas, has snagged the top ranking in the annual study.
H-E-B is also the first retailer to be recognized as the top grocery chain three times. Trader Joe's and Amazon have both scored the top spot twice.
For the index, dunnhumby looked at the 65 largest retailers that sell everyday food and household items. The firm ranks the retailers based on which ones have the best value proposition for their customers, looking at factors like prices, quality, digital capabilities, speed, and convenience. H-E-B topped the ranking yet again this year because the grocer has "the strongest customer value proposition for the long-term," dunnhumby said in a press release.
"This is due to their superior ability to deliver a combination of better savings and better experience/assortment, supported by time savings through superior digital capabilities," the firm added.
Amazon received the second highest ranking in RPI, followed by Costco in third place. H-E-B, Costco, and Amazon, respectively, took the top three spots in last year's RPI as well.
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Other grocery chains that landed near the top in the latest dunnhumby ranking include Market Basket, Sam's Club, Wegmans, Aldi, Shoprite, Walmart Neighborhood Market, and Walmart. All of the chains in the top quartile of the RPI tended to outperform the rest of the market in terms of customer benefits, costs, or both, according to the report.
"Knowing your customer and your competitive positioning regarding customer needs will be critical for retailers to scratch out any organic growth in 2024. Customers are re-evaluating their opinions of retailers more than ever and that will only intensify in the coming months due to the economic headwinds facing consumers," dunnhumby's President of the Americas Matt O'Grady said in a statement. "In this year's RPI, we illuminate how the consumer views the grocery market, and how different retailers are meeting the general population's needs as well as the needs of different consumer segments."