Amazon, Walmart Aim to Retain Lower-Income Shoppers Amid Luxury Push

Amazon and Walmart apps

Amazon and Walmart may be setting their sights on high-income consumers, but as the two retail giants compete for shoppers’ spending, they are working hard not to lose their lower-income customers in the process.

Amazon, for its part, announced Wednesday (May 15) the introduction of Amazon Access, a platform aimed at providing easier and more affordable shopping experiences, particularly for lower-income customers. This initiative consolidates various programs, discounts, and features geared toward enhancing accessibility for a diverse range of shoppers.

Amazon Access serves as a hub where customers can explore different resources tailored to their needs. These include payment options such as SNAP EBT integration and Amazon Layaway, which allows for payment in installments credit checks or additional fees, as well as discounted Prime memberships for government assistance recipients who qualify.

“Given the tough economic climate, with many facing rising costs on essential needs, we want our customers to know about all the accessible offerings available on Amazon, no matter their circumstances,” the eCommerce giant stated.

Walmart, meanwhile, is looking to draw in consumers concerned about their health spending. On Saturday (May 18), the company is providing free health screenings for common conditions, per a Tuesday (May 14) announcement, at “nearly 4,600” locations. The company is also touting its health products available at these locations, indicating how bringing these consumers into stores can convert to sales.

“We’ll continue to build and execute through our pharmacies and Vision Centers to ensure we’re doing what we can to help people save money, live better and live healthier this summer,” Kevin Host, the retailer’s senior vice president of Pharmacy, said in a statement.

While these companies may want to retain engagement from lower-income shoppers, they are setting their sights on winning the loyalty of consumers with cash to burn. Amazon has its luxury stores, and Walmart has its Walmarche strategy, piloting a new merchandise mix and fancier displays aimed at higher-income shoppers.

According to PYMNTS Intelligence, Amazon’s share of high-income consumers is 36% higher than Walmart’s, and while Walmart’s shoppers are roughly evenly distributed across income brackets (less than $50K a year, between $50K and $100K, more than $100K), more than half of Amazon’s shoppers fall into the high-income group. In fact, only 16% of Amazon customers make less than $50K annually.

Overall, many consumers are struggling to afford their basic needs. PYMNTS Intelligence’s most recent New Reality Check report, “The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report: Why 60 Percent of Gen Z’s Live Paycheck to Paycheck,” drew from a survey of more than 3,400 U.S. consumers to understand their financial lifestyles, among other matters. The results revealed that more than 1 in 5 consumers across all generations, apart from baby boomers and seniors, live paycheck to paycheck with issues paying their bills.

The PYMNTS Intelligence Whole Paycheck Report estimates Amazon and Walmart’s market shares in various categories based on years of earnings reports in conjunction with national data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis. The most recent edition, “New Consumer Spend Data Finds Amazon Way Ahead of Walmart,” found that Amazon held a 10% share of total consumer retail spending, and Walmart held 7.3%.