Amazon is officially America’s favourite grocery store, thanks to a pandemic-driven boost to online shopping

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Reuters
  • Amazon bested both H-E-B and Trader Joe’s to take the top spot in the Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index.
  • Participants in the study cited Amazon’s speed and safety for preference over other grocery retailers.
  • Amazon got a boost in 2020 as more consumers turned to online grocery shopping during the pandemic.
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In 2020, with consumer priorities changing to fit into a post-COVID world, Amazon was the favourite choice among grocery store retailers.

Amazon beat out fan-favourite chains like H-E-B and Trader Joe’s, according to the fourth annual Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index, with speed, price, and safety cited as the main reasons for its ranking.

“Covid has led to record highs and lows in economic metrics, along with huge shifts in where and how consumers shop food retail, changing the competitive trajectories of retailers who were winning and those who were struggling before the pandemic,” Dunnhumby North American president Grant Steadman said. “Amazon accelerated past every other retailer on our Covid Momentum Metric and customer safety ratings, due to its speed to shop and virtual store format.”

Online grocery shopping was up dramatically in 2020, with initial surges correlating to the onset of the coronavirus lockdowns in April. During one week in late April, dollar sales surged as much 289% compared to the previous year according to the analytics firm M Science. Those gains extended throughout the year, with Amazon in particular seeing huge growth.

In 2019, the story was quite different: H-E-B and Trader Joe’s ranked highest, with Amazon taking the third spot.

Since Amazon is a digital-only grocery retailer — at least for now — and consumers are already very familiar with its online storefront, it was primed for success during a pandemic.

But those favorability gains may not last forever. “As we begin to emerge from the pandemic,” Steadman said, “we should expect value perception to come back strongly.”

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