Our grocery shopping habits are a’changing

A recent Chicago Tribune story about the planned Albertson’s takeover by rival Kroger included a chart (see below) that was a dramatic reminder of how our grocery shopping habits have changed over the years.

The chart shows that while traditional supermarket Jewel still maintains the top spot in the Chicago area in terms of number of households that shop there, discounter ALDI has the second largest share of the area’s grocery shopping market, followed by Walmart and then Mariano’s, a Kroger brand.

A few decades ago, the Chicago market belonged to Jewel and traditional rival Dominick’s, two supermarket chains that were Chicago born but eventually were bought by national chains (Dominick’s no longer exists, local say Safeway drove it into the ground before shutting it down).

You can see why traditional chains like Kroger want to get bigger. They mistakenly think being bigger will protect them from all the rivals — Walmart, Target, Costco and let’s not forget Amazon which didn’t make this chart — trying to grab more marketshare. Sadly, getting bigger hasn’t worked in traditional retailing, so why would it work in food retailing?

The Pandemic drove many people to try online grocery shopping. Some are abandoning that. Indeed a new survey shows online grocery sales were down 3%, year-over-year, in October. The survey is from brickmeetclicks.com.

But that’s still $7.8 billion nationally being spent online. Expect that to increase as all the stores on the Chicago list try to hold onto or gain marketshare as well.

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