Walmart vs. Target customers: Who earns more?

7 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts

When it comes to big-box stores in the United States, few are more omnnipresent than Walmart ($NYSE:WMT) and Target ($NYSE:TGT). The two retail giants carry similar catalogs of products, serve vital needs in certain communities, and offer comparable pricing. But their location footprints are quite different both in terms of locations and the customer bases they target, as we found in our data.

When normalizing for thousands of locations throughout the United States, we found that Walmart Supercenters tend to be located in lower-earning zip codes, while Target stores open in top-earning areas. This likely reflects Walmart's prolicivity to open Supercenters in more rural areas while Target goes after higher-earning urban and suburban communities.

Location, Location, Location

As you see in the map below (click for a larger version), Target is heavily concentrated in major metropolitan areas and their suburban communities. While Walmart is certainly well-represented in America's cities, it has a much more diverse presence, especially when it comes to rural areas.

The numbers

We looked at 1,831 Target locations and 4,905 Walmart and Walmart Supercenter locations and pulled 2015 median-income census data for the zipcodes in which they are located. Target location zipcodes average a median income of $78,964 to Walmart's $72,725, an 8.6% difference. This income gap is even larger when looking at Walmart Supercenters, which average a median income of $63,488. That's a massive 24% difference in median income.

Store

Median income - Median income (2015)

(Average)

Target

$78,964.61

Walmart

$72,725.72

Walmart Supercenter

$63,488.98

In 2011, median income was slightly lower all around, with less income growth for Walmart Supercenter zip codes. The 24% gap between Walmart Supercenter and Target customer median income was already present, however.

Store

Median income - Median income (2011)

(Average)

Target

$77,093.93

Walmart

$70,476.42

Walmart Supercenter

$62,277.53

Highest-Earning Zipcodes

When it comes to the top-10 median-income zipcodes in which Walmart or Target have a store, 6 (or 60%) of those locations are Target stores. Two are Walmarts, and two one are Walmart Supercenters.

Store

City

State

Postal Code

Median income (Average)

Target

Bethesda

MD

20815-6122

$206,050.00

Walmart

Vienna

VA

22182

$189,981.00

Target

Chicago

IL

60614-1523

$171,589.00

Target

Manhattan Beach

CA

90266-5104

$170,842.00

Target

Chesterfield

MO

63005-1150

$169,281.00

Walmart Supercenter

Chesterfield

MO

63005

$169,281.00

Target

Princeton

NJ

08540-5991

$167,390.00

Walmart

Princeton

NJ

8540

$167,390.00

Walmart Supercenter

Houston

TX

77055

$166,667.00

Target

Houston

TX

77024-2505

$166,667.00

Top-earning zipcode goes to a Target location Bethesda, MD where residents earn a whopping $206,050 median income. The top-earning Walmart location is located in zipcode 22182 in Vienna, VA with an also-impressive $189,981 income.

It's intereting to point out that top-earning zipcodes are where we found the most crossover for both brands. Both Walmart and Target have stores in Chesterfield, MO, Princeton, NJ, and Houston, TX.

Lowest-Earning Zipcodes

Like a reverse mirror image, of the 10 lowest-earning zipcodes with either a Walmart or Target location, 6 are Walmart Supercenter locations. Two are standard Walmart stores, and two are Targets. The lowest-earning zipcode at $23,694 is a Target located not in rural America, but in downtown Los Angeles just blocks away from the Staples Center where the LA Lakers, Kings, and Clippers all play.

Store

City

State

Postal Code

Median income (Average)

Target

Los Angeles

CA

90017

$23,694.00

Walmart Supercenter

Macon

GA

31206

$25,503.00

Walmart Supercenter

Phoenix

AZ

85031

$25,663.00

Walmart

Columbus

GA

31903

$25,887.00

Walmart Supercenter

Houston

TX

77081

$26,505.00

Target

Miami

FL

33127-3500

$26,805.00

Walmart Supercenter

Tallahassee

FL

32304

$26,877.00

Walmart Supercenter

Florida City

FL

33034

$27,157.00

Walmart Supercenter

Ponderay

ID

83852

$27,378.00

Walmart

Manchester

KY

40962

$27,585.00

Aside from the occurence of Walmart Supercenter locations in lower-income areas, we noted that Florida is well represented, with three of the lowest-earning areas located in Miami, Tallahassee, and Florida City.

Note: Subscribers to Thinknum can see the related dataset here.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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