Data consultancy dunnhumby ranked Trader Joe’s tops among grocery retailers for emotional connection with shoppers and financial performance.

Rounding out the top five were Costco, Amazon, H-E-B and Wegmans. Ranking from six to 10 were Market Basket, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, WinCo Foods and Walmart.

Aldi, Peapod and the Fresh Market rounded out the group featured for garnering the affection of their shoppers and scoring high in market share, sales growth and sales efficiency.

Dunnhumby used publicly available financial data and an online survey of roughly 7,000 U.S. households to create its list.

This year is the second straight that Trader Joe’s has won the top spot.

“Trader Joe’s is a prime example of a retailer making trade-offs in order to deliver superior value ... ” dunnhumby wrote in its report on the rankings. “With its small format, lack of digital shopping and limited national brand offering, the retailer focuses on speed of in-store shopping and having a rich private brand offering.

“This bricks and mortar-only, private brand approach minimizes costs and keeps prices low, allowing them to pad margins and reinvest in customer service, product quality and in-store experience,” dunnhumby wrote. “This strategy sacrifices reaching customers through a growing digital channel and breadth of assortment — particularly in non-food items — and therefore Trader Joe’s loses on one-stop shop-ability and convenience. However, this loss is also their gain, since it allows them to be excellent at what matters most to their customers.”

Dunnhumby solicited feedback from shoppers on a number of areas: prices, quality, digital, operations, convenience, speed, and the combination of discounts, rewards and information.

Price and quality sit above all the others in importance, according to the report.



The top retailers based on price were:

  • Aldi
  • Market Basket
  • WinCo Foods
  • Food4Less
  • Costco
  • Walmart
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Walmart Neighborhood Market
  • Lidl
  • Amazon
  • H-E-B
  • Peapod
  • Sam’s Club

Dunnhumby provided some insight on how WinCo ranked high in price and also overall.

“They focus on delivering better store experience in the fewer areas that matter most to their lower-income target customer,” dunnhumby wrote in its report. “Compared to other stores that have a similar target customer ... WinCo has cleaner stores and are better at managing out-of-stocks. Unlike many grocers, they don’t appear to have invested much in digital, offering only limited click-and-collect offerings, which allows them to continue to invest in smooth store operations and low prices.”



The top retailers based on quality — a category for which one criterion was freshness of fruits, vegetables and meat — were:

  • Wegmans
  • The Fresh Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Publix
  • Sprouts
  • Hy-Vee
  • H-E-B
  • Harris Teeter
  • Raley’s
  • Costco
  • Lowes Foods
  • Peapod
  • Ingles

Dunnhumby suggested that the reason H-E-B ranked well in quality as well as overall was that its price perception among customer is boosted by a strong private brand offering.

“H-E-B may grab headlines for the quality of its experience and products, but their value perception, while not clearly superior to the majority of the market, is above average,” dunnhumby wrote in its report. “They likely maintain this with a focus on providing a superior private brand offering. Their private brand scores are equal to that of well-known private brand leaders Costco and Trader Joe’s. This focus allows them to provide higher quality products at more competitive prices.

“They also have some of the highest scores in the study for having the right variety of products to meet a customer’s needs,” dunnhumby wrote.


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