Wal-Mart’s Three Shopper Types

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A New York Times article today discussed how Wal-Mart’s new marketing strategy would put each of its 200 million customers into one of the following three groups: “brand aspirationals,” “price-sensitive affluents” and “value-price shoppers.” Brand aspirationals are those folks who have low incomes but are absolutely in love with brand names, they give the example of KitchenAid. Price-sensitive affluents are shoppers who have more money but love them deals. Finally, the third group, the value-price shoppers, are those consumers who like low prices and can’t afford much more.

I would say I’m a price-sensitive value-pricer myself, I like getting a good deal on something and I like low prices; I would also say that I have an above average income compared to the country as a whole but I’m average for my demographic so I wouldn’t say that I’m either wealth or “unable to afford much more.” I’d call my category, price-sensitive value-pricing realist (Brand names don’t do it for me).

So, which are you? Or do you think you don’t fit in one of those broad (but not that broad) categories… what would you name your category?

{ 16 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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16 Responses to “Wal-Mart’s Three Shopper Types”

  1. mapgirl says:

    I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart when there are other options available. Period. I like Target way better, and their locations are more convenient to me anyway.

  2. Jayne says:

    I would say “ditto” about being a tweener in the Wal-Mart profiles. I’m not affluent, but can afford more. I just can’t see the sense in paying more when you don’t have to.

    One aspect they did not factor in (or did not mention) was convenience. Being over 40, I remember when you had to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, clothing store and department store to get everything you are able to pick up in a one-hour trip to a Super Wal-Mart. That’s a huge bonus when you are a working mom with small kids to wrestle in and out of car seats, not to mention the whining which would ensue during a half day trip to several different stores.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m a price-sensitive affluent myself. I can afford more, but I want the best deal I can get. That’s why I shop at Target. There I can get cool stuff at a good price.

    Very cool article! Thanks for posting.

  4. thomas says:

    I’m a LOHAS ( lifestyle of health and sustainability). I never shop at Wal mart. Period. So what if you can buy more poor quality things that you don’t need for cheap ?

  5. I’d say I’m definitely a price-sensitive shopper and I’m a Wal-Mart whore. I would say it’s safe to say that 60% or more of our spending is done at Wal-mart, which is good because 5% back on all Wal-mart purchases really adds up for me.

    As far as the Wal-Mart haters I just don’t get what the beef is?

  6. Foobarista says:

    The only thing we buy consistently at Walmart is camping supplies; water treatment tablets for back-packing cost 1/2 what they do at REI. We also occasionally go there to get random hardware – one thing about Walmart is they’re open much later than hardware stores in our area, and for some reason, we often end up needing this stuff after 9:00PM.

    One night, Walmart was a godsend when my computer keyboard got drenched and I needed an emergency replacement at 10:00PM; I was working late on a project that absolutely had to be done that night…

    We probably are in the “price-sensitive affluent” category in that I’ll buy wherever things are cheap and of known quality, and leave the anti-WMT sanctimony to those who care about such things. That’s their right, and I’ll respect it as long as they don’t attempt to use the power of the State to enforce their views on those who don’t share them.

  7. jmunnie says:

    One thing Wal-Mart doesn’t seem to realise (or at least publically acknowledge): “price-sensitive affluents” might be more aware of how they treat their employees, the towns their stores are in, their suppliers, etc. (i.e., shoddily). Which is why most people who could afford to pay a little more but still want to save shop at Costco or Target.

  8. Tim says:

    who cares, i love walmart. i exude the personalities of all three categories, thus putting myself in a special category.

  9. theWizard says:

    My wife and I were at Wal-Mart yesterday and I told her about this post after we had left. As it was the “first of the month” there were lots of folks in there spending their “government checks”. I think most of them fall into the third category of value-price shoppers. Definitely not the “Beautiful People” if you get my drift.

    I supose my Wife and I would be considered Price Sensitive affulents as we love a bargin. However our AGI would not include us as affluent in most parts of the country, but in our small rural town maybe we are.

  10. Matt says:

    I don’t feel “brand-aspirational”, but the only thing I’d ever buy at Wal-Mart was something with a respected manufacturer’s name on it.

    I’m not averse to buying generic or unknown products from stores that I trust, but Wal-Mart is the domain of cheap Chinese crap, and I’m not going to spend my money on that. If it comes in a KitchenAid (or, in the case of the most recent purchase _I_ made at a Wal-Mart, my TV from about 2 years ago) Sanyo box, then I’m banking on the manufacturer’s reputation, rather than the store’s.

    Frankly, the low prices are seldom low enough to be worth the insane hassle of shopping there. The service is as bad as K-Mart used to be, the product quality and selection are worse, the parking lot is perpetually jammed with bad drivers, and (unlike the nearby Meijer’s, which also has low prices, but has a better selection of higher-quality goods, plus groceries I wouldn’t be ashamed to serve my family and friends) it isn’t open 24 hours, so I have to wait six hours after I get home from work until the store opens at 10am, if I want to go there.

    No thanks.

  11. I would have said that I’m a price-sensitive affluent shopper. I make an above average income compared to the rest of the US and while it may be close to normal for my area, I think it would fall into affluent compared to the typical WalMart shopper.

  12. I’m not sure if I should divulge what type of shopper I am. It may blow my cover ;). Okay, being from the West Coast like Lazy Man, we’re probably considered price-sensitive affluents as well… I find the typing of consumers to be very interesting though. I believe they covered all the bases.

  13. Terry says:

    To thomas: I buy only things I need at Wal-Mart, as in poor quality cheap clothing. I have no sense of fashion, only economy, so it works out okay for me.

  14. Paviel says:

    I think a lot of people shop at Walmart because it is convenient. I live in a smallish town and aside from another higher priced grocery store we have nothing else at our disposal.

    Last year I broke my connection with Walmart. Our Walmart has plenty of employees, yet refuses to schedule more that four or five cashiers at a time. This store is a super Walmart and has about 25 registers. I have no grudge with Walmarts ability to be a hugely profitable corportation. I take issue with the way employees are treated. Low wages, no healthcare, employees routinely asked to clock out early so that a few dollars can be saved. Not only are you hurting your employees ability to earn a living wage, you are shortchanging the customer.

    I refuse to get in a line and stand there for 25 minutes. Saving eight dollars an hour times three extra employees while you make billions in profit is truly obscene. I will gladly drive an extra 25 miles to not be a party to your greed.

  15. kaz says:

    I happen to know that Wal-Mart treats its employees very fairly offering good healthcare. My mildly mentally retarded brother who works at wal-mart has never been asked to clock out early and is paid what i would consider to be a more than fair wage for a job where no experience or education is necessary. On top of that employees are treated fairly, and I can honestly say they have never given me a reason to complain about customer service. Blaming walmart for “hurting employee’s ability to earn a living wage” is ridiculous, if their skills were worth more they could make more with any other employer. People work at wal-mart BECAUSE they offer a competitive wage comparable to what similarly qualified employees make in any industry.

  16. sdf says:

    Poor people never can afford a Swiss watch, but they don’t hate. Rich people can buy a whole walmart supercenter, buy they hate it.
    Actually, all companies are providing products for a special group of people, their market segment. If you hate Wal-Mart, it means you are not in their target, but people who do fall in that target may love Wal-Mart. If you are happily rich, just walk away, no need to hate unless Wal-Mart is close to your house.

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