America’s Most Popular Stores

WalMart logo
Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores
It’s a marketing adage that keeping an existing customer is both cheaper and easier than wooing a new one. It takes time and money to become one of America’s most popular stores, but once there, it’s also difficult to dislodge such a company from its top position.

America’s most visited stores are popular for a variety of reasons. According to data provided by Placed, a consumer habits data service provider that monitors behavior of more than 150,000 American consumers at 150 million locations daily, the most popular brands are primarily in the fast food, discount retail, and pharmacy segments.

Six of the top 10 most popular stores are restaurants, one more than when Placed did a similar survey earlier this year. Interestingly the store that dropped off, 7-Eleven, was the only convenience store on the earlier list, and it has been replaced by another fast food chain.

Two big-box retailers and two drugstores rounded out the top 10. Part of it is a numbers game of course. The most popular retailer had more than 4,000 stores in the United States last year. The most popular drugstores had more than 7,000 locations each, and the most popular restaurants had more than 12,000 retail outlets apiece.

Store popularity also varies by gender and income level. Fast food is more popular with men, while retailers get more traffic from women. Americans with annual incomes greater than $100,000 were more likely to shop at big-box retailers and drugstores than Americans earning between $25,000 and $100,000 a year. Wealthier Americans were less likely to eat at fast food restaurants, however.

To determine the nation’s most popular stores, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from location analytics company Placed. Placed calculated the percentage of Americans who visited various stores in October 2014. The group also provided demographic and socioeconomic data on customers for various retailers and restaurants. These are indexed to a base of 100, representing the average American consumer. We also reviewed 2013 U.S. sales and store count data from companies’ financial filings, as well as advertising expenditure figures from Advertising Age (AdAge) covering 2012 and 2013.

These are the most popular stores in America.

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