Survey: Discount stores attract all ages, incomes

BY Marianne Wilson

Everyone loves a bargain.

Nearly all U.S. consumers regularly visit discount retailers to find a bargain, according to the latest issue of the quarterly Consumer View report by the National Retail Federation. In a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults, 89% said they shop at various types of discount retailers, ranging from dollar stores to thrift stores to off-pricers. Of those, 58% reported shopping at dollar stores, 50% at off-price stores like Ross or T.J. Maxx and discount grocers like Aldi or Lidl, 44% at outlet stores and 36% at thrift stores.

The survey found that discount store shopping has wide appeal that cuts across income groups and ages. Eighty-nine percent of those making under $50,000 a year said they shop at various discount retailers along with 88% of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 and 90% of those making over $100,000. Bargain shoppers include 93% of both Millennials (born from 1981 to 1994) and Generation Z (born in 1995 or later) over the age of 18.

“Looking for the best price is a habit that cuts across almost every demographic,” NRF VP for research development and industry analysis Mark Mathews said. “Regardless of income or generation, virtually everyone wants a bargain whether it’s for everyday necessities or big-ticket splurges. Even those who can afford to shop elsewhere love finding a ‘steal,’ and it’s a habit that’s here to stay.”

In other survey findings:

• Clothing is the product shoppers are most likely to purchase at bargain retailers, cited by 75% of those surveyed, followed by groceries (71%), home décor and furnishings (62%), personal care and beauty products (60 percent) and electronics (52%).

• There are regional differences among value shoppers, with 38% living in the South, 23% in the West, 21% in the Midwest and 18% in the Northeast. Shoppers are almost evenly divided among men (47%) and women (53%), and 46% have children.

• Value shopping is a way of life for those surveyed, with 43% going to a discount grocer weekly, 66% visiting a dollar store at least twice a month and 58% shopping at an outlet at least once a month. And 63% are buying more items on sale than they did five years ago.

• Value consumers are “willing to give up almost anything for the satisfaction of a good bargain,” with three-quarters or more not expecting buy online/pick up in-store, free two-day shipping, product reviews or an “entertaining” shopping experience.

“Off-price and discount shopping took off during the recession as price-conscious consumers looked to save on everything from brand-name goods to everyday household purchases,” the report said. “Now, eight years into the economic recovery, consumers continue to hunt for deals and discounts.”


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