Amazon, H-E-B, Market Basket top dunnhumby's latest index

The research firm's latest Retailer Preference Index shows which retailers performed best in both short- and long-term customer preference.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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For the second straight year, Amazon has earned the top spot on dunnhumby’s annual Retailer Preference Index. The nationwide study by the customer data firm examines the U.S. grocery market, including private label sales. Rounding out the top-three spots behind Amazon was H-E-B and Market Basket.

The overall RPI rankings are the result of dunnhumby’s model that predicts how retailer execution on various customer needs impacts both lasting emotional bonds formed with customers, as well as short-term and long-term financial performance. A new related study from IRI reported on private label and which areas store brand products grew and shrank market share in.

Each preference driver score and emotional connection score is measured with data gathered from a customized, online survey of 10,000 U.S. households per year. The seven drivers of customer preference are price, quality, digital, operations, convenience, discounts, rewards and information, and speed. 

“The pandemic has massively accelerated changes in how customers buy their groceries, and their behaviors are continuing to evolve,” said Grant Steadman, president of North America for dunnhumby.  “2021 was the year that grocery retail became truly omni-channel. Retailers who delivered on their customers evolving needs in-store and online performed best. This was mostly the larger players, who used their advantages to consolidate their positions.”

Wegman’s landed the fourth spot in the index, and in its first year in the RPI, Amazon Fresh exploded past 55 other retailers to land in the fifth spot. The 10 additional retailers with the highest overall customer preference index scores are Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Target, Publix, Walmart, BJs Wholesale and Fareway.

“The challenges for most other retailers are significant, but a number of mid-size grocers gained momentum by understanding their customers better and differentiating their offering accordingly,” added Steadman. “The report aims to provide some direction on why and how retailers can best position themselves to win with customers, in this era of the Great Reinvention”.

The full RPI report can be found here.