As cost-conscious Americans watch their dollars more closely, retailers are increasingly competitive for customers. As the economy continues to show signs of recovery, retail spending has increased 6.4% from a year ago. Still, brand loyalty is more important than ever, so Harris Interactive conducted its annual EquiTrend study that reveals America’s most popular shopping destinations across several retail categories.
The survey analyzed responses of more than 38,500 consumers comparing more than 1,500 brands. The study was conducted online from January 31 through February 20, 2012.
Despite the proliferation of discount store pharmacy departments that offer $4 generic drugs, Americans still prefer traditional drug stores. Introducing the drug store category for the first time this year, Walgreen’s is the top drug store in the country, followed by CVS and Rite Aid.
Americans can get pretty touchy about “big box” value retailers, but no amount of unfavorable headlines or small town picketers has truly put a damper on sales at big box stores. Target is still a favorite among consumers, and has led the category since 1997. This year, 71.3% of survey respondents say they shop at Target, followed by Walmart with 66.77% of votes.
Among mid-tier department stores, Kohl’s continued its category lead over JC Penney, which recently invested in rebranding and advertising campaigns. Kohl’s has held the top spot since 2009. With the addition of a new luxury department store category this year, Nordstrom beat out Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s.
For those grab-and-go moments when you only need a drink and a snack, why bother with navigating the aisles of a grocery store? The survey reveals that Speedway is convenience store of choice , followed by Arco’s am/pm and 7-Eleven. As for gas, Speedway was the top destination for gas for three years running, but it was nudged down to sixth place o by Costco, followed by Hess, Shell, Sam’s Club, and Sunoco.
-Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion, @emarrion_cmn.