Across the U.S., there are 63,328 supermarkets and grocery store businesses. Each day they are filled with different types of people who have unique needs, preferences, budgets, and other buyer characteristics.
As consumer buying behaviors evolve, it’s important to stay up to date on where, when, and how much they grocery shop.
To help, we surveyed over 1,100 consumers across the U.S. to look at the current landscape of grocery shoppers and identify underlying consumer segments.
Keep reading to discover all of our grocery store industry statistics!
Grocery Store Shopping Statistics [Editor’s Choice]
- On average, people spend $155.62 on groceries per trip to the grocery store
- The majority of people spend less than 44 minutes grocery shopping per trip (72%)
- On average, people go to the grocery store 8 times per month
- 2 in 3 shoppers use a full-size cart when grocery shopping (68%)
- Over half of consumers shop for groceries on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (59%)
- The majority of people shop for groceries in person, at a physical grocery store (69%) while only 16% get their groceries delivered
- Most people grocery shop at a mainstream grocery chain (55%) or a supercenter (54%)
With this data, we created seven shopper profiles that showcase the attributes, motivations, and demographics of varying market segments. Download the report, here.
America is home to over 63 thousand grocery stores currently in business
The US had a large number of functioning grocery stores at 63,328 at the end of 2022. However, there was a 1.2% decline in that figure when compared to 2021 numbers.
Walmart is the biggest grocer in the country
It’s estimated there are over 4,000 active Walmart locations in the US right now.
With the combined square footage of the stores being 852,300,300 feet, Walmart would take over roughly 4% of America’s land.
A random but interesting fact about Walmart - bananas are one of the most purchased foods at their store.
Here are some of the other “biggest” grocers:
- Kroger (an average of 165,000 sq. ft.)
- Aldi (an average of 16,400 sq. ft.)
Aldi is one of the top-rated discount grocery stores
Widely known as an ultra-affordable grocery store choice, Aldi is listed as the best option for those cutting costs.
Founded in Germany, Aldi quickly took over the US and is known to carry high-quality items at a reasonable price.
Other popular discount grocers include:
- Market Basket
- Grocery Outlet
- Save A Lot
Have you ever gone to Target just for peanut butter and left spending $200 on things you probably don’t need? Same.
I commend anyone who doesn’t deviate from their grocery list.
According to our grocery store shopping survey, on average consumers spend $155.62 on groceries per shopping trip.
- 35% spend less than $100 on groceries per trip
- 38% spend $100 to $199 on groceries per trip
- 27% spend $200 or more on groceries per trip
Supermarket sales will continue to grow digitally
Grocery stores have reached $6.3 trillion dollars in sales
That’s triple the amount in 1992. Globally, the grocery retail industry is bringing in $11.7 trillion in sales.
And based on past data, the grocery store chain industry will continue to grow.
It was found that the market size of grocery stores has been growing 2.7% per year between 2018 and 2023.
And in 2026, that number is expected to grow by $275 billion.
As vital as grocery shopping is, it is a chore that most people dread doing. Overcrowded aisles, long checkout lines, and difficulty finding certain items can make the thought of visiting a grocery store unbearable.
Perhaps that’s why nearly 3 in 4 people spend less than 44 minutes in a grocery store when shopping for groceries.
- 36% of people spend less than 30 minutes grocery shopping per trip
- 36% of people spend 30 to 44 minutes grocery shopping per trip
- 28% of people spend 45 minutes or more grocery shopping per trip
Perhaps the most frustrating feeling is going grocery shopping, loading and unloading bags from your car, and unpacking them in your house just to realize you forgot to buy a crucial food or drink item.
Back to the grocery store you go.
Whether it be for weekly groceries or last-minute items, people go to the grocery store an average of 8 times per month.
- 28% of people go to the grocery store less than 4 times a month
- 38% of people go to the grocery store less 4 to 5 times a month
- 34% of people go to the grocery store 6 or more times a month
Annual grocery store spending could grow massively by 2025
Ever wince when you see your total for groceries in the checkout line? Well, prepare yourselves.
We’ve already discussed how popular online grocery shopping has become. Not only will that rake in $121 for the industry, but it’ll also affect total yearly spending for shoppers.
That total is estimated to be $1,524 in just three years.
Our grocery store industry analysis found the most popular method for carrying groceries is with a full-size card (68%), followed by a small cart (14%).
I am curious about the percentage of people that start grocery shopping without a cart or basket, thinking they can carry their groceries by hand – only to realize moments later they were too ambitious, and in fact, need a cart.
Other methods of carrying groceries in the grocery store included:
- Bags from home (7%)
- Handheld basket (4%)
- Bags from home (7%)
- By hand (3%)
- Motorized cart (3%)
Another grocery store statistic our market research company was interested in uncovering was what days people are more likely to purchase their groceries.
We found that Friday (20%) and Saturday (23%) are the most popular days for grocery shopping. In fact, the end of the week is when 59% of consumers visit the grocery store.
Meanwhile, 36% percent of consumers said there are no particular days of the week they do their grocery shopping.
Typical days for purchasing groceries include:
- Monday (16%)
- Tuesday (15%)
- Wednesday (19%)
- Thursday (18%)
- Friday (20%)
- Saturday (23%)
- Sunday (16%)
- No particular days of the week (36%)
Online delivery or curbside grocery services appear to have found a lasting market. Only 69% of monthly grocery shopping was completed in a physical store across the total sample.
More specifically, 16% of people said they get their groceries delivered while even fewer said they get their groceries through a curbside or pickup service (6%).
For those we’ve identified as the ‘Anti-Shoppers’ segment, over half of their monthly grocery shopping (58%) occurs via delivery services, curbside/pickup services, or another non-physical way.
See more segment breakdowns by downloading Grocery Shopper Segmentation Report.
According to Customer Communications Group, consumers are significantly more likely to name a supermarket as a retailer to which they are most loyal.
What drives this brand loyalty is finding good value products for the money and a convenient shopping experience.
Here are typical grocery shopping locations where our survey respondents are most loyal:
- Mainstream grocery chain (i.e., Safeway, Kroger, Publix, Albertson’s): 55.2%
- Mass merchandiser or supercenter (i.e., Target, Walmart): 54.3%
- Club store (i.e., Costco, Sam’s): 22.3%
- Local independent grocery: 21.7%
- Online retailer (i.e., Amazon, Walmart.com): 18.1%
- Natural/specialty grocery chain (i.e., Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s): 15.6%
- Online grocery or delivery service (i.e., Instacart, Amazon Prime): 11.9%
- Farmer's market: 10.1%
- Drug store (i.e., CVS, Walgreens): 8.4%
- Dollar store (i.e., Dollar General, Family Dollar): 7%
- Click-and-collect or curbside pick-up service: 4.7%
- Meal kit subscriptions (i.e., HelloFresh, Home Chef, Blue Apron): 3.7%
- CSA box (community-supported agriculture): 2.1%
Shoppers are returning to stores, yet omnichannel or “hybrid” shopping appears to be the norm
Findings from a recent study conducted by PYMNTS.com reinforces the notion that as fears of COVID have waned, sales at physical stores have ticked up.
Case in point, total in-story grocery sales for January 2022 finished at $58B, and edged up 7% to more than $62B in January of 2023.
Despite the increase seen across stores, total digital grocery remained flat year over year for January ($10.4B vs $10.7B), while grocery store e-commerce sites noticed a bump of $1.5B ($6.6B to $8.1B) during the same time frame.
Stable in-store sales, coupled with strong digital sales, point to signs that the grocery shopping landscape has perhaps been permanently changed by the pandemic.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that across all in-person retail stores, supermarkets were #1 as far as where consumers were most likely to have an enjoyable shopping experience.
A large amount of US grocery stores will waste up to 30% of their food
One of the more alarming grocery store chain industry statistics, many of them will throw out 30% of their items.
Below are some additional food waste statistics:
- 16 billion pounds of food waste come from US retail locations
- Allergenic foods like gluten products and peanuts have a higher chance of being wasted
- US households will throw away roughly $1,600 in produce alone
Thankfully, organizations like Feeding America are working against this growing trend. In fact, the organization was able to save over 3 billion pounds of food from being wasted.
Causes and solutions for food waste
Food waste is typically caused by a multitude of reasons, with allergens being only one source.
Often, there can be issues at the supply-chain level such as problems with processing or transportation. Sometimes, bacteria or insect outbreaks are the culprits.
In many cases, retail locations will simply over-order and dispose of leftover items.
The US Environmental Protection Agency and USDA joined forces in 2015 with a 15-year plan to eliminate half of America’s food waste by 2030.
But of course, preventing food loss can be done on a micro-level too. Consumers can veer away from buying items that aren’t necessary or simply use up items before they buy more.
About the survey
Drive Research administered a 10-minute survey with 1,104 respondents in the U.S. The topic of the survey surrounded attitudes and behaviors associated with grocery shopping.
Grocery shopping survey questions included:
- How would you describe your ideal grocery shopping experience?
- Where do you typically shop for grocery food items?
- How many grocery trips/orders do you make for your household in an average month?
- What percent of your grocery shopping is through each of the following methods in an average month?
- How much time do you spend in a grocery store during an average trip?
- How do you typically carry your groceries as you shop in the store?
- Which of the following days of the week do you typically purchase groceries?
- Approximately how much money do you spend on an average grocery shopping trip/order for your household?
In addition, consumers were asked to select which of the following statements they most agree with and least agree with.
- I look forward to grocery shopping
- Grocery shopping is a burden
- Wearing a mask discourages me from grocery shopping in person
- Mandatory masks make me feel more comfortable grocery shopping in person
- I enjoy preparing my own food
- I prefer a meal kit subscription over grocery shopping
- COVID-19 has made me feel more at risk in grocery stores
- I never felt less safe grocery shopping during the pandemic
- I’m more likely to visit a grocery store with extensive sanitization procedures
- Intensive cleaning in grocery stores discourages me from going
- I can find all the groceries I need in one store
- I need to visit multiple stores to get all of my groceries
- I get in and get out of grocery stores as quickly as possible
- I take the time to look at grocery items and compare options
- Organic and natural foods are my first choice
- I go out of my way to purchase healthy grocery items
- I’m one to always throw some junk food and desserts in my grocery cart
- I’m interested in new plant-based food alternatives
- I consider the social responsibility of grocery items when shopping
- I’m one to try temporary diets
- Religious or cultural beliefs influence the groceries I buy
- I tend to seek groceries that are low in sugar, sodium, fat, or carbs
- I like to purchase grab & go prepared foods at the grocery store
- Online grocery delivery services are my go-to
- I’m not interested in using online grocery services
- I consider myself to be tech-savvy
- I am lost when it comes to technology and apps
- I don’t trust other people to pick out my groceries
- I’m willing to pay someone else to do my grocery shopping
- Brand names are important to me for groceries
- Store or discount brands are as good as premium brands
- I cook homemade meals more than often than not
- I’m happy to let someone else pick up groceries on my list
- I stock up on groceries to maximize each visit
- I don’t mind running to the store for a few groceries
- I always make a list before making a trip to the grocery store
- I decide what to buy as I walk through the grocery aisles
- I tend to visit the same grocery store
- I often switch up where I get my groceries
- I take advantage of curbside or in-store grocery pickup
- I only drive to the grocery store to do the shopping myself
- Grocery shopping is best as a solo activity
- I enjoy grocery shopping with my family, friends, or partner
- I’m fine spending more money on groceries I want
- I look to cut costs whenever possible in the grocery store
- I make an effort to buy only essential groceries
- The more variety of groceries I buy, the better
- I typically use the self-checkout
- I enjoy checking out and interacting with a cashier
- I frequently order takeout or delivery from restaurants
- Traditionalists (5.2%)
- Baby Boomers (35.3%)
- Gen X (20.5%)
- Millennials (30.4%)
- Gen Z (8.6%)
- Female (55%)
- Male (44%)
As the battle for market share continues to grow, grocery and retail brands are turning to market research to understand what draws customers to the stores they love.
As a full-service market research company, our team offers a wide array of quantitative and qualitative studies. We specialize in insights and consumer behavior analysis that allow your organization to quickly adjust to the latest and greatest shopping trends.
Whether Drive Research executes a survey, focus group, or mystery shop - you will receive the quality, actionable data needed to become consumers' store of choice.
Contact us to learn more about our services:
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Learn more about Emily, here.