Wal-Mart

Despite many retailers experiencing weak sales and profits, and shuttering physical locations, some are consistently attracting U.S. consumers. The NPD Group and Checkout Tracking released its annual Checkout Penetration Index highlighting the top 25 retailers.

To devise the listing, the Checkout Penetration Index reviewed millions of receipts from consumers across all retailers and restaurants, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores to understand performance and penetration. The index based its research on the question: “What percentage of all U.S. consumers bought at each store or restaurant?” Wal-Mart Stores Inc., McDonald’s and Target Corp. topped the list this year.

Ninety-five percent of U.S. consumers purchased at a Wal-Mart store or via its e-commerce counterpart, researchers at NPD noted. With its recent acquisitions of jet.com and ModCloth, the mass retailer has wisely expanded its portfolio to reach new audiences that may not have been Wal-Mart regulars — Millennials in particular.

Of the list, there were some surprises — especially given the current consumer climate. For example, fast-food chain McDonald’s secured the second most popular ranking, drawing 89 percent of U.S. consumer purchases last year. Despite its traditional burger-and-fries combos, McDonald’s has made a shift to offer healthier options like salads and fruit smoothies to respond the booming wellness trend, and it’s paid off.

Target rounded out the top three, garnering 84 percent of U.S. purchases. Of all the retailers listed, Chick-fil-A achieved the most growth, improving its standing from 42 percent in 2015 to 47 percent in 2016. The listings prove that U.S. shoppers are in search of convenience and deals — and investing in home updates in repairs. Of all retailers included in the index, Amazon was the only e-commerce platform.

“The battle for every consumer dollar is heating up, and we must shift from studying what consumers purchase to how they spend their money,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group. “Consumers are spending on experiences is overlapping with their purchases of products, making every item and visit so important in competing in today’s changing marketplace.”

Retailers looking to earn a spot on next year’s rankings should consider their infrastructure: are there qualified professionals reviewing data? What data is available? And how is it informing next quarter’s strategies? Look to loyalty programs, recurring subscription-based offerings and intuitive omnichannel shopping experiences to move the needle on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Top 25 Retailers and Restaurants — 2016 Checkout Penetration Index

  1. Wal-Mart: 95 percent
  2. McDonald’s: 89 percent
  3. Target: 84 percent
  4. Walgreens: 77 percent
  5. Dollar Tree: 71 percent
  6. Subway: 70 percent
  7. CVS: 69 percent
  8. Home Depot: 68 percent
  9. Taco Bell: 62 percent
  10. Burger King: 60 percent
  11. Lowe’s: 59 percent
  12. Wendy’s: 58 percent
  13. Shell: 57 percent
  14. Starbucks: 48 percent
  15. Kohl’s: 48 percent
  16. Chick-fil-A: 47 percent
  17. Dollar General: 44 percent
  18. KFC: 43 percent
  19. Amazon: 42 percent
  20. Dunkin’ Donuts: 42 percent
  21. Best Buy: 40 percent
  22. Sam’s Club: 39 percent
  23. 7-Eleven: 38 percent
  24. Michaels Stores: 38 percent
  25. Panera Bread: 38 percent
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