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Amazon, Costco lead U.S. retailers in ‘simple brands’ index

Study shows more than half of shoppers willing to pay more for simpler experiences

Simple is better, and as Siegel+Gale’s annual “World’s Simplest Brands” study found, the top-ranked companies are those that consistently deliver on their brand promise with simple, clear, intuitive experiences.

Among grocery retailers who made the 2018 U.S. list were Amazon at No. 3, Costco (No. 4), Publix Super Markets (No. 12), Trader Joe’s (No. 15) and Kroger (No. 17). While Amazon ranked third, its subsidiary Amazon Prime made the list separately at No. 18. Overall, Lyft and Spotify were the top two simple brands in the U.S.

Siegel+Gale asked more than 15,000 people across nine countries in the U.S., Europe, Asia, India and the Middle East to evaluate brands and industries on their simplicity. Key findings include:

• 55% of people are willing to pay more for simpler experiences.
• 64% of people are more likely to recommend a brand that delivers simple experiences.
• A stock portfolio of the simplest global brands has outperformed the average of the major indexes by 679% since 2009.
• Companies that fail to provide simple experiences leave an estimated share of $98 billion on the table.

On the global front, German discount retailers Aldi and Lidl scored the No. 2 and 4 spots, respectively. “They are a mainstay of our global Top 10,” according to Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer, Siegel+Gale. “They surpass big-box competitors by virtue of their clear communications, affordable prices and premium private label products.”

Other retailers that fell in the top 50 U.S. simplest brands were Albertsons (26), Walmart (34), Safeway (39) and Walgreens (41). Whole Foods Market just missed, ranking at No. 51.

“The top performers in our study operate in crowded, highly competitive marketplaces. That said, their ability to consistently deliver their brands with simple, compelling experiences sets them apart,” said David Srere, co-CEO and chief strategy officer at Siegel+Gale. “Companies will benefit greatly by keeping it simple for customers…or suffer the consequences.”

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