If the earliest months of the pandemic were married to a surge in demand for e-commerce and delivery services, the second year saw a sharp uptick in favorability for Dollar Tree and other discount stores. According to a CivicScience study from last November, not even unprecedented price hikes for Dollar Tree put a dent in its popularity — and those trends have held steady into 2022, as discount stores make further inroads in the grocery market.
Per the most recent CivicScience survey data, Dollar Tree’s favorability numbers still hover just below 50% through much of Q3 2022. Even after nine months of a 25% price increase for most in-store items, Dollar Tree has returned to its previous highs in overall favorability.
Dollar General, which isn’t a conventional dollar store and sells a wider array of discount products, has recently touted its gains with customers earning over $100,000 in recent weeks. According to CivicScience data, Dollar General’s overall favorability sits a hair below Dollar Tree’s but well outweighs its detractors. And while shoppers earning less than $50,000 are nearly twice as likely to hold a favorable view of Dollar General than the highest earners, nearly three-in-ten earning more than $100,000 think highly of the store.
Whether you chalk it up to inflationary stresses or shoppers relying on discount stores for products impacted by the supply chain crunch and then just sticking around after the fact, the stores are in an unusually strong position to carve out new corners of the market. Dollar General is making a big push into the grocery world with Dollar General Market locations, and there appears to be sufficient demand. Eight percent of adults shop specifically for groceries at Dollar General, Dollar Tree, or Family Dollar at least once a week, and nearly 20% grocery shop there at least several times per month.
Grocery shopping at discount stores is significantly more popular among young Americans, with more than half of Gen Z adults claiming to shop there at least once a month. Adults under 34 are significantly more likely than the Gen Pop to shop for groceries at discount stores several times per month or more.
Americans who view Dollar General favorably are also much likelier than the Gen Pop to buy groceries at any of the dollar-centric stores at least several times per month. And with more than half of Dollar General fans getting groceries at these stores at least once a month, it’s a viable arena for the company to pursue.
Although many of the pandemic’s impacts on shopping were short-lived or reliant on a specific set of conditions, dollar and discount stores are hoping they’ve carved out a sustainable new consumer base, regardless of economic conditions.