Where Americans Spend Their Money: The 25 Top Stores and Restaurants
Money + Markets

Where Americans Spend Their Money: The 25 Top Stores and Restaurants

© Mike Blake / Reuters

Here’s an amazing new measure of just how deeply Walmart is ingrained into the fabric of American life: Last year, 95 percent of U.S. consumers bought something from the retailing behemoth, either in a store or online.

That startling figure comes from market research firm NPD Group’s new Checkout Penetration Index, which the company says uses “millions of receipts from actual consumers” to try to answer one question: What percentage of U. S. consumers bought at each store or restaurant?

Only one other chain comes even close to Walmart’s level of penetration: McDonald’s, at 89 percent. Retailing rival Target had 84 percent of consumers spend money with it, while 77 percent of consumers bought something at Walgreens pharmacy stores.

Those four businesses were the only ones to reach three-quarters of American shoppers.

Amazon, by comparison, was 19th on the list, with 42 percent of U.S. consumers shopping through the site.

Of course, the new index says nothing about how frequently Americans shop with a particular retailer or how much money they spend with each. Even so, the data does reveal some other trends. For example, NPD says that Chick-fil-A saw a 5-point increase in reach, the biggest among restaurants, while Dollar Tree advanced the most among retailers, gaining 3 percentage points to 71 percent.

Here’s NPD’s list of the top 25 retailers and restaurants: