55% of U.S. Shoppers Prefer Buying Groceries From Large Merchants

man grocery shopping in store with phone

In the recently-released “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: SMB Edition,” PYMNTS Intelligence found most consumers today expect digital innovations when they shop. This expectation in practice often translates into a preference for bigger stores because they have the size and scale to innovate.

But the report — which was commissioned by Visa Acceptance Solutions and drew on insights from nearly 14,000 consumers and 3,512 merchants across seven countries — found that in some regions of the world, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are more than holding their own when it comes to delivering a more satisfying shopping experience.

PYMNTS Intelligence data found that although 70% of U.S. consumers said shopping at larger outlets offers a more satisfying experience, consumers in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico and other countries prefer patronizing SMBs.

Picking between an SMB or a big-box store can hinge on whether consumers are buying groceries or retail items. For instance, PYMNTS Intelligence found that when buying food and beverages, shoppers in Saudi Arabia say they are much more satisfied doing business with SMBs. Likewise, grocery shoppers in Brazil, Mexico and the U.K. say frequenting smaller stores is more satisfying.

These findings suggest that either consumers in these countries prefer the intimacy SMBs offer, or the bigger outlets need to deliver a more satisfying experience.

As the chart shows, only grocery buyers in the U.S. show such a strong preference for big stores, with a satisfaction increases of 55%. In a distant second place is India, where consumers are 21% more satisfied with larger grocers.

When looking at retail trends, PYMNTS Intelligence found satisfaction levels between large and smaller merchants to be negotiable for shoppers in India (7%) and the UAE (15%).

Consumers in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said there was no large difference in satisfaction levels that come from shopping with big or small retailers. But SMB retailers in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil and the U.K. have a long way to go in improving customer satisfaction and catching up to larger merchants.

As the “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: SMB Edition” explained, a wide variety of features — inventory, shopping apps, promotions, discounts and more — contribute to customer satisfaction. As a result, there are ample opportunities for both big merchants and SMBs to deliver a more satisfying shopping experience by offering local consumers the digital features and streamlined experiences they want.