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Cluster analysis was used to conduct a segmentation analysis of U.S. supermarket shoppers. This study is based on the responses of a sample of 1,000 shoppers concerning the importance of 21 store characteristics in selecting their primary grocery store for the Food Marketing Institute's 2000 consumer trends survey. Stores must satisfy the attributes important to all consumers in order to be successful. In order of importance, the four top characteristics are a clean/neat store, high quality produce, high quality meats and courteous, friendly employees. The three key supermarket shopper segments identified are time-pressed convenience seekers, sophisticates, and middle Americans. In order to cater to a particular consumer niche, a store must better fulfill the store preferences of that segment. Time-pressed convenience seekers, 36.70 percent of the sample, put a premium on features such as childcare, gas pumps and online shopping. They are likely to be younger, urban with lower or moderate incomes and have the greatest number of children six years old or younger. Quality and services are important to the sophisticates, 28.40 percent of the sample. This group is middle-aged, better educated with higher incomes than average. Middle Americans, 34.90 percent, are attracted by pricing/value factors such as frequent shopper programs, sales and private label brands. They want stores that are active in the community. Demographically they are in the middle with the highest proportion of high school graduates.


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