Survey: Everyone's Shopping At Walmart, Even If They Don't Want To

With the economy continuing to circle the bowl, it’s not surprising that customers are turning to Walmart’s cheaper prices for just about everything. A new survey has the box store biggie as the most frequently shopped-at store in all U.S. regions, even though consumers don’t necessarily consider themselves loyal to Big W.

The newly released 2010 Colloquy Retail Loyalty index looks at four categories (Grocery, Personal Care, Department Store and Mass Merchant) in five separate regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest). And with the exception of just one category in one region, it was a clean sweep for Walmart in the Most Frequent list. The one exception was in the Northwest, where Safeway was named the grocery store where most people make their purchases.

Customers were also asked to give their most shopped-at stores a loyalty ranking on a scale from 1-10, and that’s where Walmart didn’t fare quite as well.

Shoppers in the Northeast were the most loyal Walmart shoppers, giving the retailer the highest marks in the Grocery, Personal Care, and Dept. Store categories. BJ’s win in the Mass Merchant category kept Walmart from going 4/4.

The Southeast was the region least loyal to Walmart. The company had to share its one category win, for Personal Care, with Walgreens. Publix was the Grocery store with the highest loyalty; Target was named the Dept. Store with the most loyal customers while Costco has the most devoted shoppers in the Mass Merchant group.

Oddly enough, while Safeway beat out Walmart as the most shopped-at Grocery in the Northwest, Walmart received a higher loyalty rating.

This year’s results stand in stark contrast to Colloquy’s first Retail Loyalty Index, taken in 2008 before the effects of the recession were felt everywhere. At that time, Walmart only occupied three spots on the loyalty list. This year, they take up 9 out of the 20 spots.

Here’s how the peeps at Colloquy explain the change:

The 2010 COLLOQUY Retail Loyalty Index reveals one particularly profound change that has taken place among consumers since the recession hit: The effect of low prices on professed retail loyalty. In fact, low prices have stepped up to become retail’s strongest loyalty lure, cited by consumers as a primary reason they now remain loyal to retailers—something which was simply not true in 2008.

What do you think — Will there be an eventual return to non-Walmart stores as the economy eventually, gradually improves? Or have we experienced a permanent shift in the way we shop?

The 2010 COLLOQUY Retail Loyalty Index