BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The allure of the bargain, the thrill of the hunt, an influx of food and beverage products, all account for continued dollar stores' success even in the face of post-recession economic recovery, according to consumer culture experts The Hartman Group. Its recent Shopping Topography report found that foods and beverages work in synergy with what compels shopping in dollar stores: looking for treasure among diverse general merchandise, apparel and nonfood consumer packaged goods (CPG) products.
"Shopping in dollar stores should no longer be viewed as trading down," said Laurie Demeritt, The Hartman Group's president and COO. "The desire for American consumers, across all income brackets, to frequent dollar stores lies in a quest for shopping experiences featuring surprise and discovery. These stores are very much part of the cultural fabric of the retail marketplace. Entire communities are formed around shoppers sharing stories about their most recent find."
Compared with other retail channels, shopping at the dollar store is not likely to be a planned trip.
"When shopping at dollar stores, 71% of consumers tell us they are in a browse-and-buy mode," said Demeritt. "Compared with the grocery store, shopping at the dollar store is a fun adventure where they prefer to just go and shop and see what they can discover."
Bellevue, Wash.-based Hartman Group's Shopping Topography integrated qualitative ethnographies from two U.S. markets with a quantitative online survey of 1,900 U.S. consumers 18-70 years of age. Shopping Topography looks at the wider contexts of how and why consumers shop by taking a holistic approach to behaviors, expectations and experiences.