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Blog

We the Shoppers

According to US Census data, there are ~80,000 fewer small retailers today than in 1999. In food retailing, the top 20 firms accounted for about 40% of sales in 1987; today, they command over 60% of the market. The big have gotten bigger. From stationers to indie drugstores, hardware stores to grocers, bookstores to convenience stores, we have seen a growing concentration of retail power among fewer, bigger stores. This consolidation has been driven by the pursuit of lower costs, improved bargaining power with product makers, greater operating efficiencies and global supply access, all funded by capital markets. You may lament the loss of the corner gift shop but we the shoppers have created this concentration of power by rewarding chains that deliver lower prices and greater value as we define it. The American shopper has voted with her feet – and wallet. Does anyone ever claim to LIKE to go to Walmart? Yet, every week, tens of millions of Americans cross that threshold to “Save money. Live better.” Though there are fewer stores from which to choose, the

This consolidation has been driven by the pursuit of lower costs, improved bargaining power with product makers, greater operating efficiencies, and global supply access, all funded by capital markets. You may lament the loss of the corner gift shop but we the shoppers have created this concentration of power by rewarding chains that deliver lower prices and greater value as we define it. The American shopper has voted with her feet – and wallet. Does anyone ever claim to LIKE to go to Walmart? Yet, every week, tens of millions of Americans cross that threshold to “Save money. Live better.” Though there are fewer stores from which to choose, the

This consolidation has been driven by the pursuit of lower costs, improved bargaining power with product makers, greater operating efficiencies, and global supply access, all funded by capital markets. You may lament the loss of the corner gift shop but we the shoppers have created this concentration of power by rewarding chains that deliver lower prices and greater value as we define it. The American shopper has voted with her feet – and wallet. Does anyone ever claim to LIKE to go to Walmart? Yet, every week, tens of millions of Americans cross that threshold to “Save money. Live better.”

Though there are fewer stores from which to choose, the e-tail revolution has also brought into existence countless retailers without physical stores at all with low barriers to entry, easy shopper access from your PC or mobile device and opportunities for inch-wide-and-mile-deep experts to reach fans in niche markets. My point? Retail is dynamic. Formats, niches, marketing approaches – the retail landscape continually changes. Corporate giants to mom’n’pop entrepreneurs will keep striving to incite our curiosity, entice us to trade our dollars for their goods, meet our needs and satisfy our desire for value. We the shoppers will determine the winners and losers. We always have.