Ascential expects convenience stores, food discount stores such as Aldi, discount stores, a term it uses to designate dollar and related general merchandise stores, and membership club stores, to lead retail growth among traditional operators in the U.S. over the next five years.
In its research, Ascential determined that the convenience store gains would lead retail with a 5.4% compound annual growth rate through 2024; followed by food discount stores, with a 5.3% CAGR; non-food discount stores, at 5% CAGR; and membership club stores with a 4.9% CAGR.
Still, none of those channels is among the top three dollar generating categories as defined by Ascential, although membership club is the fourth highest by sales and will grow from $171 billion to $218 billion in 2024. The non-food discount stores category, at $66 billion growing to $84 billion, rounds out the top five. The top three are supermarkets, growing at a 2.5% compounded annual growth rate through 2024 to $511 billion; superstores, growing at a 2.2% CAGR to $412 billion; and discount stores/pharmacies, growing at a 2.8% CAGR to $251 billion over the five-year period.
Ascential anticipates discount and convenience store growth will arise from a consumer focus on price and speed, even if it means shopping a more limited assortment. The forecast reflects broader economic trends. Paychecks are arriving in a relatively steady manner and unemployment continues at historic lows but wages remain stagnant for many workers, placing increased sensitivity on overall value.
“What we’re seeing offline is similar to what we’re seeing online,” said David Gordon, research director at Edge by Ascential. “There’s an increasing emphasis on low cost and convenience. You can see it through the lens of Amazon, and it will continue to play out online in similar ways.”