Consumer demographics, store attributes, and retail format choice in the US grocery market

Jason M. Carpenter (Department of Retailing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Marguerite Moore (Department of Retailing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 1 June 2006



To provide a general understanding of grocery consumers' retail format choice in the US marketplace.


A random sample of US grocery consumers (N=454) was surveyed using a self‐administered questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques (regression, ANOVA) were used to evaluate the data.


Identifies demographic groups who frequent specific formats (specialty grocers, traditional supermarkets, supercenters, warehouse clubs, internet grocers) and examines store attributes (e.g. price competitiveness, product selection, and atmosphere) as drivers of format choice.

Research limitations/implications

The results included in this research were gathered and reported on an individual format basis. In order to capture consumer choices across a range of grocery retail formats, forcing respondents to compare formats was not initiated. In addition, data pertaining to whether consumers had access to each and every type of format in the study were not collected. Examination of how dimensions of consumer access limit or expand retail patronage behavior could also be highly beneficial to grocery retailers.

Practical implications

This research provides grocery retailers that operate within the USA specific knowledge of the attributes that consumers consider to be most important when making format choices (e.g. cleanliness, price competitiveness, product assortment, courtesy of personnel), and identifies the demographic characteristics of these consumers. The results suggest marketing strategy implications for grocery retailers that operate in the US market. As competition in the sector continues to evolve and consumer demographics change within the US market, understanding the consumer‐format choice linkage will be critical to retailer performance in the industry.


This exploratory study uses demographics and store attributes as a framework for profiling consumers by their ultimate retail format choice. The paper is unique because there are few similar empirical studies focused on the US grocery sector.



Carpenter, J. and Moore, M. (2006), "Consumer demographics, store attributes, and retail format choice in the US grocery market", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 434-452.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.