Nov 12, 2021 - Business

H-E-B dominates Austin-area grocery stores

Data: Chain Store Guide Chart: Nicole Cobler/Axios

Nearly 50 cents on every dollar spent in Austin grocery stores goes to H-E-B, per data analyzed by Axios.

Texans remain loyal as ever to the San Antonio-based grocer. H-E-B and Central Market, the gourmet chain owned by H-E-B, trounced competitors, according to 2020 grocery revenue from sales tracking firm Chain Store Guide.

  • Plus, H-E-B CEO Charles Butt is a political force. All the milk-and-eggs money helps fund Raise Your Hand Texas, a public school advocacy group.

By the numbers: The analysis involves more than 2 million people in Central Texas, who spend over $7 billion collectively each year on their groceries.

  • Texans spend a relatively small percentage, 3.2%, of their incomes on groceries compared to other Americans, Chain Store Guide data shows.
  • Walmart followed behind H-E-B with 18.4% of the Austin-area market share.

What they're saying: Utpal Dholakia, a marketing professor at Rice University, tells Axios that H-E-B's high market share shows that Austin shoppers value the grocer and are willing to give a sizable chunk of their dollars to the company.

  • "They have plenty of other choices to buy their groceries from if they don't like H-E-B," Dholakia said of the competitive landscape. "In a nutshell, the fact that H-E-B has a close to 50% market share in the Austin area is reflective of its brand strength and the loyalty of its customer base."

It's true. The grocer has a knack for distinctly Texan products, and their branded items are often the subject of headlines and even TikTok videos.

🕯 Over the summer, H-E-B unveiled a new line of tortilla-scented candles — so your romantic night could have that fresh-baked feel.

  • The Texas supermarket chain sold a small batch of funnel-cake-scented dishwashing liquid a couple years ago in time for the Austin rodeo. It smelled almost edible.

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