business news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg has a story about new research from Thasos Group, saying that “Whole Foods’ foot traffic from new shoppers jumped 33 percent in the first week following Amazon’s acquisition.”

In addition, “24 percent of new Whole Foods shoppers were previously loyal Wal-Mart customers, Thasos reported. That same week, 16 percent of first-time visitors used to be regular shoppers at Kroger Co., while 15 percent came from Costco Wholesale Corp., according to the firm, which tracks shoppers who agree to share their location with smartphone apps … Trader Joe’s saw about 10 percent of its regular customers go to Whole Foods, while for Sprouts it was 8 percent, Thasos found. About 3 percent of Target Corp. customers defected.”
KC's View:
These numbers, while interesting, have to be kept in context. (As Gabriel Lorca says, “Universal laws are for lackeys. Context is for kings.”)

We don’t know if these are permanent defections, or just trips of curiosity, prompted by Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods. We do know that there haven’t been across-the-board price cuts at Whole Foods yet, so we don’t know if the isolated changes had a broad impact.

There are a lot of moving pieces in this game, but I think the only firm conclusion we can reach is that Amazon’s behavior has the potential of dislodging entrenched consumer behavior. That’s something about which the competition needs to be concerned, though permanent defections are not a foregone conclusion … in the end, the competition has a role in deciding whether or not this happens.