H-E-B, Club Stores Rise in Latest Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index

dunnhumby's 2022 RPI highlights H-E-B's continued growth, a dip in e-commerce, a rise in club chain popularity and more.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Global business data firm dunnhumby has released its sixth annual Retailer Preference Index (RPI), and after two years at the top, Amazon ceded the top ranking to a new grocery retailer.

H-E-B, the Texas-based retailer that is rapidly expanding, has earned the top position as the most preferred grocery retailer in the country. Costco came in at No. 2, with Amazon taking the third spot. Dunnhumby used financial data and customer surveys ranking price, promotions, speed, quality and more to craft the 2022 RPI.

“In 2017 we set out on a journey to understand how customers’ preferences and retailers’ financial results predicted which retailers would last. But little did we know that in the ensuing six years consumers and retailers would have a lifetime of difficulties including a pandemic that shook consumer behavior and the global economy, a prolonged period of supply change struggles, and a once-in-a-generation inflation crisis," said Matt O’Grady, dunnhumby's President of the Americas. "We believe this report can serve as a blueprint to help grocers improve their competitive positions, while providing key findings for marketing and consumer preferences.”  

The 11 additional retailers with the highest overall customer preference index scores were: 5. Sam’s Club, 6. Market Basket, 7. Amazon Fresh, 8. Trader Joes, 9. Winco, 10. BJ’s Wholesale, 11. Target, 12. Aldi, 13. Shoprite, 14. Walmart Neighborhood Market and 15. Walmart.

According to the index, price is top-of-mind for consumers across all income brackets including 66% of people making $50,000 to $74,999 and 53% making more than $200,000. Personalized prices, promotions, and rewards are now three-times more important to consumers than they were in 2019.

dunnhumby concluded that e-commerce did not have the same staying power as it did compared to last year, which led to Amazon’s fall from the first to the third spot. The firm cited 9.4 million more omnichannel households today compared to 2019, though more households are shopping in-person compared to last year.

The 2022 RPI also found that club stores are gaining momentum as consumers seek value in the face of high inflation. In addition to Costco and Sam’s Club making the top five, BJ’s Wholesale rose from 27th place in 2021 to 10th in 2022. In dunnhumby’s 2019 RPI, no club store ranked higher than seventh. 

The full 2022 RPI can be found here.