Like any other retail titan, Walmart is long past the point of only competing against its brick-and-mortar rivals. You can’t beat Amazon at their own game by now, but you can certainly adjust your business model to become a bit more like Amazon’s. This is no more apparent than the company’s Prime-like membership service, Walmart+, which debuted in 2020 and offers customers unlimited free delivery, fuel discounts, and scan-and-go shopping in stores for $98 a year or $12.95 a month.
Although the program is tailored to pandemic shopping and surviving in a busy e-commerce environment, CivicScience recently launched a study into the membership program’s long-term prospects. Nearly 10% of Americans familiar with Walmart+ are current members, but even more are either former members or intending members. Survey results indicate adults under 34 are overwhelmingly more likely to have interest or experience with Walmart+ than older Americans — and nearly one-third of Gen Z adults are interested in giving it a try.
Ten percent of Americans cite Walmart+ as their preferred service in a head-to-head with Amazon Prime, which means a significantly greater chunk are in Amazon’s camp. Nearly six-in-ten view Prime most favorably, but nearly one-third aren’t into either membership service.
That said, Americans who claim to be online shopping more than they would typically this time of year are more than twice as likely to favor Walmart+ than the Gen Pop. Although there are member perks tailored to the in-store experience, free delivery might just be the bread-and-butter to Walmart+ bringing in more of the online shopping consumer base.
But it isn’t an either/or proposition for many online shoppers: there’s a fair share of double-dippers, with 56% of Walmart+ members also maintaining Amazon Prime memberships. And yet consumers of both memberships seem to be the most reliable constituency for Walmart right now, since current Walmart+ members are also the least likely to not have Prime. There’s still a significant share — nearly one-third of Walmart+ intenders — who don’t have Amazon Prime, so there might be room to woo some newcomers to free shipping membership plans.
Still a relatively new program, Walmart+ has a ways to go toward becoming the preeminent name in the retail membership market. But its early returns are encouraging enough, indicating the potential to double its member base in the future — and the potential to grow without making its consumers defect from the more established rival.