Wealthy Consumers Continue to Shop at Dollar Stores and Discount Retailers

Even though inflation has eased, high-income shoppers continue their dollar store habit.

June 21, 2023

When inflation skyrocketed to decades-high numbers last year, high-income shoppers flocked to discount retailers, including dollar stores and discount grocers, in search of a deal, and now that inflation is at half its peak, wealthy shoppers are still shopping at cheaper retailers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Households making $100,000 or more are 15% more likely to frequent dollar stores than they were last June, with dollar store shoppers rising from 39% to 45% of this group, according to daily surveys of about 50,000 Americans from Morning Consult.

Dollar General told the Journal that the company has attracted and retained higher-income customers lately as the discount retailer has recently updated its produce section, which is now available in about 3,900 stores. Discount grocer Aldi is capitalizing on America’s switch to cheaper groceries, so the retailer plans to add 120 new U.S. stores in 2023 after opening or remodeling 139 stores last year. The brand says it attracted 9.4 million new U.S. customers in 2022. 

Social media is also boosting dollar and discount stores’ popularity. Videos tagged #dollartree have a combined 7.6 billion views on TikTok, and many influencers are trying out knockoffs of high-end products they found at these stores.

Earlier this year, Dollar General said it plans to invest about $100 million in its stores this year, most of which will go to boosting working hours. Dollar General is the fastest-growing retailer in the country by store count, according to Coresight Research. The company now has about 18,800 stores in the United States, compared to the 5,000 it had in 2001. Dollar Tree has more than 16,000 locations, including Family Dollar stores, which the company acquired in 2015.

Consumers are also gravitating toward private labels to save. Private label now accounts for 18% of the spend on consumer-packaged goods, up across all income groups.

NACS recently hosted a free webinar on private label trends and their implications on convenience stores. Read more about how c-stores are implementing private labels in their product offer in “An Exclusive Offer” in the August 2022 issue of NACS Magazine.

NACS Magazine also offers tips for retailers battling dollar stores for market share in “The Buck Stops Where?