Walmart’s Changing Demographic


John Zogby has been following specific segments of America since 2000. One group is what he calls “Walmart Weekly Shoppers” — the people who head to Walmart once a week to stock up on groceries and household needs.

15 years ago, these people were predictably white, conservative, members of Evangelical Christian churches, and rural. They voted Republican and they shopped at Walmart not just for the selection and value but also because, as Zogby puts it in an article in Forbes, Walmart was “a place that represented their homespun values.”

By 2006, the weekly Walmart shoppers were twice as likely to be Republican as Democrat, more likely to own a gun than a passport, and 76% were white. The majority had the same demographic characteristics, but it was a smaller majority.

The most recent figures show a different profile:

  • 41% are Democrats.
  • 32% are Republican.
  • 27% are independent.

66% are white, and the percentage of Hispanic shoppers has doubled. More of the shoppers are young, but they are less likely to be college graduates. All of this data is in your Store of the Community reports in Retail Link, of course, and since it’s at the store level and a larger sampling, it’s more accurate for your purposes.

But Retail Link doesn’t tell you that now only 39% of  Walmart shoppers call themselves conservative and 30% describe themselves as liberal. 45% own passports and 35% own guns.

This may be a reflection of larger societal changes. It might be the natural consequence of Walmart’s phenomenal growth since 2000 — more urban stores and stores in more regions of the country mean that Walmart has a broader reach and a more varied clientele than in 2000.

But it’s also a good reminder of the importance of keeping up with changes. It’s easy to develop a persona for your shopper and to continue working with that persona, getting better and better at serving a customer who may no longer represent the shoppers in your Walmart stores.