Supermarket PCW and Region

Project PCW Notes
December 11, 2018

Gravitec Development is undertaking a major exploration of supermarket per-capita expenditures.  This email is another set of notes that discuss our findings.

This week we will take a look at the influence of Region on Supermarket PCW. The BLS divides the U.S. into four different regions; North East, Mid West, South and West.  While the PCWs are similar, there are slight differences.

When controlled for household size and income, the South has the lowest PCW, and the North East has the highest. The order is not surprising, since it has followed the same order for many years.

North East Mid West South West
Count of Persons: 2,511 2,741 4,884 3,466
Count of Households: 1,038 1,151 2,001 1,308
Ave. HH Size: 2.419 2.381 2.441 2.650
Ave. HH Income: $76,687 $67,996 $71,838 $77,947
Actual PCW: 50.411 48.944 45.455 49.504

One fact that is surprising is the difference between Urban and Rural households.  As the table below shows, the Rural households now have a higher PCW than Urban households.  Although the difference is less than a dollar, it may show an important trend.  For many years the Rural households have had lower PCWs when controlled for household size and income, so why the difference now?

With the incredible proliferation of deep discount grocers, such as Aldi and LIDL, and the aggressive expansion of dollar stores, is it possible the Urban households have access to many more lower-price shopping options than Rural households? To the BLS. “Rural” means a community with a population less than 25,000.  These smaller towns and villages are mostly bypassed by the discount chains due to the lack of sales potential.

Urban HHs Rural HHs
Count of Persons: 13,280 950
Count of Households: 5,362 390
Ave. HH Size: 2.477 2.436
Ave. HH Income: $74,320 $49,925
Actual PCW: 47.840 48.225