How are Club Retailers performing amid COVID-19?

How are Club Retailers performing amid COVID-19?
Club continue to perform well from a retail share of foot traffic perspective. In late August, their share of foot traffic visits to the food retail market was up +6 percentage points year over year.
Survey results found that there has been a gradual increase in panelists reporting that the food they ate yesterday was sourced from a Club retailer - a +3 percentage point increase compared to March.
How are shoppers choosing between retailers?
In our Daily Food Diary survey, which we've been fielding on an ongoing basis since March, panelists reported that they increasingly value loyalty/rewards programs and availability of key items when choosing which retailer to source their food from. Both of these decision drivers are strengths of the Club channel.


Which shoppers are driving share gains?

Part of the reason why Club continues to outperform is due to their skew towards more affluent consumers.
The chart below shows Sense360 segments, which are behaviorally-based with attitudinal and lifestyle survey data appended. It shows that the composition of visits to Club retailers overindexes on affluent segments like Urban Influencers, Healthy Homemakers, and Affluent Adopters. These segments tend to place more value on quality and healthy food, and less on value.
These segments are more likely to work in white-collar professions that allowed for strict sheltering-in-place and working from home. Now that lockdowns are lifting in many areas (especially the Northeast, which skews more affluent), these segments are more freely moving about and driving increased Club visits.


Drivers of increased total sales in Club

Club's growth in total sales can largely be attributed to larger basket sizes in the environment of trip consolidation.
In recent months, transaction volume has increased in the evenings more than other Dayparts, likely due to people beginning to have more "normal" routines and work/life schedules.
Geographically speaking, increased consumer spending on Club retailers is occurring in many smaller DMAs.


Which Club retailers are winning?

Throughout the pandemic, Sam's Club and BJ's have outperformed Costco, though in recent periods, Costco has begun to pace with their competition.
In terms of head to head competition, though, Costco has maintained about the same percentage of trips when competing directly with Sam's Club.
Geographic footprint likely plays a role, as Costco's footprint is more West Coast and Urban skewing than Sam's Club.


Stay tuned for more insights on the food industry
This analysis came from our COVID-19 Briefings, a webinar series that covers deep-dive analyses on the food industry using three vast datasets: foot traffic, transactions, and surveys. We host these webinars every Tuesday and Friday morning at 9:30-10am Pacific / 12:30-1pm Eastern. Click below to register.
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We make all of our webinar slides available to the industry, free of charge. Click below to browse our analyses, which we've conducted multiple times per week since March. Contact us at if you need help finding answers to your questions.
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