Wealthier Americans are splurging — at dollar stores

Saving money, the great unifier.

dollar store shopping by income group

Olivia Heller

Of all the stores out there, dollar stores probably live up to their name better than any.

Not just because of their prices (though, honestly, they often substantially exceed $1), but also because they’ve gone on an absolute cash-printing tear.

In 2022, Dollar General and Dollar Tree commanded revenues of $37.8B and $28.3B, respectively.

Dollars and sense

As pandemic-era inflation drove grocery receipts through the roof, Americans pivoted their carts. For instance, grocery spending at discount chains jumped 71% between October 2021 and June 2022, per The Wall Street Journal, while other grocers saw sales dip 5%.

What’s particularly interesting is how this trend extends across demographics, especially among those for whom dollar store shopping is not a necessity.

  • The share of dollar store visits among customers making $100k+ rose 4% this year, compared to the second half of 2022, per InMarket.
  • Morning Consult found 45% of six-figure households are open to shopping at dollar stores, up from 39% last year.

(Saving) money talks

Part of the trend may be awareness. On TikTok, the hashtag #dollartree has 8B views, and the platform is full of frugal shopping tips centered around dollar stores.

Another part may be improved offerings and access — Dollar General is expanding its fresh-produce offerings, and discount grocery chain Aldi is adding 120 US stores this year, targeting higher-income areas.

For more: Read our in-depth visual explainer on the economics of dollar stores.

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