CivicScience | Membership Warehouses Compete for Different Customers

General, Retail

Membership Warehouses Compete for Different Customers

Image Credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr

In the membership warehouse world, Costco’s favorability seems to be the favorite among public opinion. And that does not seem to be abating. If anything, the chain is getting more popular, as their favorability has been at the 50% mark for the last two years.

Meanwhile, Costco’s chief competition – Sam’s Club – has rested at 42% favorability year-over-year.

Sam’s Club, as a subsidiary of Walmart, does a very good job at keeping Walmart customers happy over at Sam’s Club. Fifty-four percent of people who have a favorable view of Walmart also have a favorable view of Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club bests Costco by this metric, with 52% of Walmart fans having a favorable view of Costco. But it’s close, as Costco is only 2% behind Sam’s Club in favorability among Walmart devotees.

People who have a favorable view of Target have a whopping 57% favorable view of Costco, compared to only 45% of Target fans having a similar opinion of Sam’s Club.

Costco Attracts Organic Food Buyers and Bigger Spenders

Costco also separates itself from Sam’s Club in the organic food category. While both stores sell organic food, Costco draws in a much larger crowd who buys from this segment of the marketplace.

People who at least occasionally purchase organic food prefer Costco at a 33% higher clip to Sam’s Club.

And while warehouse clubs call to mind bargain shopping, Costco fans aren’t shy about spending a little extra on themselves.

For instance, people who have a favorable view of Costco are 38% more likely to go out to an upscale restaurant at least once a month compared to people with a favorable view of Sam’s Club.

A Look at the Diverse Grocery Landscape

So if Costco is putting even more distance between themselves and Sam’s Club, is there another segment of the marketplace that might give them trouble?

So far, the answer seems to be “no.”

For instance: People who have bought groceries online from Amazon in the last 12 months have a favorable opinion of Costco at a 22% higher rate than people who didn’t shop Amazon for groceries. 

And it’s not just Amazon; it’s any grocery delivery service. People who use them overwhelmingly have a happy feeling about Costco as well.

Overall, Costco – the self-proclaimed recognized leader in the warehouse club space – is big and getting bigger. Its favorability is on the rise, Sam’s Club favorability is stagnating, and online grocery delivery isn’t having an effect on how Americans feel about whipping out their membership card to buy bulk products at low prices.  

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