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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Black Consumers and Shopping at Mass Merchandisers market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report covers Black consumers’ attitudes, behavior and perceptions regarding mass merchandisers. For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has defined a mass merchandiser as a large retail store offering a wide range of product categories, often at discounted prices, including but not limited to appliances, clothing and accessories, shoes, furniture, office equipment, household products, health, beauty and personal care products, electronics, music and entertainment, sporting goods and food. These stores have central customer checkout areas, generally in the front of the store, and may have additional cash registers located in one or more individual departments. Walmart, Target, Kmart and Meijer are the mass merchandisers included in this report.


Additionally, Amazon.com is included alongside the aforementioned brick-and-mortar mass merchandisers. While Amazon is not typically included in Mintel’s definition of a mass merchandiser, it is included in this Report to provide competitive context among Black shoppers.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Toya Mitchell, a leading analyst in the Multicultural sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Some 98% of Black consumers have shopped at a mass merchandiser within the last year, making these stores the primary location where they can fulfill their shopping for multiple personal and household needs at competitive prices. Some stores have a reputation as being upscale and hip while other stores are considered crowded but cheap, which drives a brand narrative, but Black consumers primarily associate mass merchandisers with offering a good value due to a large product mix and low prices, which drives their choice of where to shop Toya Mitchell
Senior Multicultural Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Market overview
          • Top takeaways
            • Key takeaway video
              • The insights
                • Nearly all Black consumers have shopped at Walmart
                  • Figure 1: Preferred mass merchandiser retailers, October 2019
                • Most Black consumers shop in-store, but shopping online, particularly at Walmart, is growing
                  • Figure 2: Black consumer mass merchandiser online purchases, any and by select retailers, 2015-19
                • Mass merchandisers are convenient, but price is the most important shopping factor
                  • Figure 3: Attitudes toward mass merchandisers, October 2019
                • Black consumers’ perceptions of mass retailers demonstrate what they value
                  • Figure 4: Perceptions of mass merchandisers – Correspondence Analysis, October 2019
                • The opportunities
                  • Brick and mortar retailers should expand their online product offerings
                    • Figure 5: Perceptions of mass merchandisers, October 2019
                  • The current mass shopping experience is good; a faster one would make it great
                    • Figure 6: Desired store improvements – checkout innovation, October 2019
                  • What it means
                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                    • Black unemployment is at a record low, but workers are settling for any type of labor
                      • Black shoppers purchase while shopping at Walmart, but do more browsing at Target
                      • The Black Population by the Numbers

                        • Black population expected to grow 10% from 2014-24
                          • Figure 7: US population, by Black vs Non-Black, 2014-24
                        • Black households represent 13% of all US households
                          • Figure 8: US households, by race/Hispanic origin, 2019
                        • Black adults in the labor force are finding work, but job quality is a concern
                          • Figure 9: Unemployment and underemployment* rates, by total and Black workers, 2000-19
                        • Nearly one third of Black households are low income
                          • Figure 10: Household income, by race and Hispanic origin, 2018
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Walmart shoppers nearly always make a purchase during store visits
                          • Figure 11: Mass merchandising shopping and purchase by retailer, by total and Black, April 2018-June 2019
                        • Black shoppers visit Walmart at least once a week
                          • Figure 12: Average number of store visits in the past four weeks, by total and Black, April 2018-June 2019
                        • Multiple departments are a greater draw for Black shoppers
                          • Figure 13: Purchases at mass merchandisers within the last 3 months, by department, total indexed to Black, April 2018-June 2019
                          • Figure 14: Apparel and footwear purchases at mass merchandisers within the last 3 months, by total and Black, April 2018-June 2019
                      • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                        • Walmart and Target engage Black consumers with different targeting strategies
                          • Black consumers are migrating to Walmart.com from in-store and Amazon
                            • Black consumers still shop at Kmart even though it’s on life support
                              • Small-format stores target urban areas, but don’t deliver on primary attributes important to Black consumers
                              • Trend Drivers

                                  • Trend Driver – Identity
                                    • Walmart leverages Black consumers’ sense of identity into marketing efforts
                                      • Figure 15: Estimated Black-targeted television media spending share among discount general retailers, 2019
                                      • Figure 16: Walmart Black History Month online video featuring Marley Dias, February 2019
                                      • Figure 17: Walmart spring online ad, March 2019
                                    • Target creates partnerships with Black-owned businesses to deepen engagement
                                        • Figure 18: Essence + New Voices Entrepreneur Summit and Target Holiday Market event pictures, December 2019
                                        • Figure 19: Target Black History Month shopping section, January 2020
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Walmart’s online shopping shows signs of growth
                                        • Figure 20: Black consumer mass merchandiser purchases, any and online by select retailers, trended 2015-19
                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                      • Kmart’s slow demise reduces shopping options
                                        • Figure 21: Kmart store count and sales revenue, 2000-17
                                    • What to Watch

                                      • Smaller mass merchandiser formats facilitate changing shopper habits
                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                        • Nearly nine in 10 Black consumers have shopped at Walmart within the past year
                                          • Amazon is the shopping site for affluent Black consumers
                                            • Mass stores are primarily known for fulfilling shopping needs, followed by offering competitive prices
                                              • Black consumer mass store perceptions highlight what they value and expect from retailers
                                                • Black consumers want a fast check out at mass merchandisers
                                                • Preferred Mass Merchandiser Retailers

                                                  • Walmart is the preferred mass retailer, Amazon close behind
                                                    • Figure 22: Preferred mass merchandiser retailers, October 2019
                                                  • Walmart is the standard for nearly all Black shoppers
                                                    • Figure 23: Demographic profile of Black Walmart shoppers, October 2019
                                                  • Busy, middle-aged shoppers prefer Amazon
                                                    • Figure 24: Demographic profile of Black Amazon shoppers, October 2019
                                                  • Target appeals to affluent shoppers, but to lesser extent than Amazon
                                                    • Figure 25: Demographic profile of Black Target shoppers, October 2019
                                                  • A healthy financial situation offers greater choice in shopping locations
                                                      • Figure 26: Household financial situation, by preferred mass merchandising retailers, October 2019
                                                    • Nearly half of Black consumers have shopped on Walmart.com
                                                      • Figure 27: Preferred mass merchandiser retailers, in-store or online, October 2019
                                                    • Black Midwesterners’ access to Meijer impacts their shopping choices
                                                      • Figure 28: Preferred mass merchandising retailers, by region, October 2019
                                                  • Attitudes toward Mass Merchandisers

                                                    • Mass merchandisers’ primary value is their product mix
                                                      • Figure 29: Attitudes toward mass merchandisers, October 2019
                                                    • Target’s product mix across more departments makes shopping easier
                                                      • Figure 30: Preferred mass merchandising retailers, by attitudes toward mass merchandisers, October 2019
                                                    • Traditional female shoppers see greatest value in mass stores’ offerings
                                                      • Figure 31: Attitudes toward mass merchandisers, by female age groups, October 2019
                                                    • Young men with few shopping responsibilities focus on price
                                                      • Figure 32: Attitudes toward mass merchandisers, by male age groups, October 2019
                                                    • Parents with young children value product mix; those with teens value brand mix
                                                      • Figure 33: Attitudes toward mass merchandisers, by kids’ age groups, October 2019
                                                  • Perceptions of Mass Merchandisers

                                                    • Store narratives belie actual consumer perception
                                                        • Figure 34: Perceptions of mass merchandisers – Correspondence Analysis – symmetrical map, October 2019
                                                        • Figure 35: Preferred mass merchandisers by perceptions of mass merchandisers, October 2019
                                                      • Good value surpasses cheap prices as women age
                                                          • Figure 36: Perceptions of mass merchandisers by select retailers, by female age groups, October 2019
                                                        • Young men’s low engagement with mass shopping reflected in their store perceptions
                                                          • Figure 37: Perceptions of mass merchandisers by select retailers, by male age groups, October 2019
                                                        • Parents, particularly those with young children, believe Walmart offers the best value and product mix
                                                          • Figure 38: Perceptions of mass merchandisers by select retailers, by kids’ age groups, October 2019
                                                      • Desired Store Improvements

                                                        • Black shoppers are mostly satisfied with mass stores, but a faster experience is welcomed
                                                          • Figure 39: Desired store improvements, December 2019
                                                        • Faster, more store checkout options can increase store visits
                                                          • Figure 40: Desired innovations – TURF analysis, October 2019
                                                        • Young shoppers gravitate toward lifestyle partnerships and online innovations
                                                          • Figure 41: Desired store improvements, by age group, October 2019
                                                        • Affluent households want to save money wherever possible
                                                          • Figure 42: Desired store improvements, by household income, October 2019
                                                        • Parents of school-aged children look for convenience and savings
                                                          • Figure 43: Desired store improvements, by kids’ age groups, October 2019
                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                        • Data sources
                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                • Terms
                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                  • TURF analysis methodology
                                                                    • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                                                      • Simmons datasets
                                                                        • Figure 44: Mass merchandising shopping and purchase by retailer, by total and Black, April 2018-June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 45: Average number of store visits in the past 4 weeks, by total and Black, April 2018-June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 46: Purchases at mass merchandisers within the last 3 months, by department, total indexed to Black, April 2018-June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 47: Apparel and footwear purchases at mass merchandisers within the last 3 months, by total and Black, April 2018-June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 48: Black consumer mass merchandiser purchases, any and online by select retailers, 2015-19

                                                                    This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                                    • Market

                                                                      Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

                                                                    • Consumer

                                                                      Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

                                                                    • Brand/Company

                                                                      Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                                    • Data

                                                                      Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                    Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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