Survey: Grocery Shopping on Nantucket.

The barriers and motivators for shopping for food downtown.


Caffeinated, Inc., an advertising and branding firm based on Nantucket recently conducted a survey of 466 individuals regarding the habits and attitudes around grocery shopping on the island. This report represents a broad executive summary of the data and findings. More detailed data is available upon request.

The situation.

Choice has never been a watchword for grocery shoppers on Nantucket. The standards at the current Stop & Shop are low compared to offerings off island, and the quality and selection at the former Grand Union had been universally viewed as worse than the Stop & Shop. There are some high quality offerings on island in Annye’s and Bartlett Farm, but neither of these stores provides a complete “supermarket” offering, so they are viewed largely as specialty grocery retailers.

About our respondents.

466 unique individuals took the survey online over a three week period in late November and early december. Measures were taken to ensure that individuals could not take the survey more than once. Over one quarter of the respondents were seasonal residents or visitors. Half of the respondents live close to town, largely in the mid-island area, close to the existing Stop & Shop. 43% of those who responded have an income in excess of $75,000, with 29% over $100,000 annually.

About the survey.

The survey itself can be viewed here: This survey came in the wake of an overwhelming public sentiment that a CVS was not right for the downtown Nantucket. Once the community had explained what it did not want, it was time to understand what it did want and would support. This survey provides some insight into those questions.

Some key findings include:

Quality trumps price for year-round shoppers.

While the majority of year-rounders strike a balance between quality and price, well over one third put quality first. This represents a potential opportunity for a higher-end grocery downtown.

(Year round residents)

There is room for higher quality and price in the marketplace.

Roughly a third of respondents would pay a 10% premium for better quality over Stop & Shop (which is already estimated to cost 15% more than the mainland. And one quarter would pay over 15%.

In fact, over 70% of those surveyed said they would be likely to shop downtown in the Summer if the grocer there had better quality than Stop & Shop. 85% were likely or highly likely to shop downtown in the face of better quality in the winter, which represents a large portion of Stop & Shop’s core business.  Only 8.8% of respondents said they would continue to shop in the mid-island under such circumstances.

Fresh produce, meats would be a welcome addition for year-round shoppers.

Among 86% of year-round residents, superior produce is seen as a major motivator to shop downtown, with superior quality meats begin second at 80.6%

(Year round residents only)

The parking situation is complicated.

80% of respondents said that ample free parking would get them to drive into the downtown area to shop there, but very few of them felt that way about ample paid parking (25%). When asked how much they would be willing to pay for parking over half said they would not be willing at all.

Year-round residents were against a parking garage on the site by a ratio of two to one, with 20% of respondents neutral on the subject. Seasonal residents were even more adamantly opposed:

(Seasonal residents)

Additional information and comparative data is available from this survey. Please contact Grant Sanders of Caffeinated, Inc ( for information.

© Copyright 2012 Caffeinated, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Responses to “Survey: Grocery Shopping on Nantucket.”

  1. Theresa Says:

    I hate to say this, but this survey looks like it was created and compiled by a high end food store corporation, to make a case for a higher end grocery store coming into the downtown ( something I am not necessarily opposed to, if there was a fairly priced and CLEAN and adequate Stop and Shop as competition). For the most part, year round residents with families cannot afford to “choose quality over price, regardless.”

  2. Greg Says:

    The survey was compiled by Grant and myself. The respondents were generally year-rounders, as the survey was only publicized to local social media contacts. I was, myself, a little surprised at the numbers showing the willingness to pay more than Stop & Shop’s island premium. But, these were the results. In my mind, this is saying that people are desperate for a choice and for better quality and choices than offered by Stop & Shop. And, if there were a boutique market downtown, a small Whole Foods, for example, it would only benefit by making Stop & Shop have to compete, either with better prices, better cleanliness and quality or both! If Stop & Shop takes the Grand Union location, they will have no such motivation and we will continue to pay above average prices for below average groceries.

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