Walmart CEO says customers willing to pay more for convenience

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Shoppers value convenience so much they are willing to pay more for it, according to Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner. 

“I think an underlying trend that has really shown up and is with us and I think is here to stay is convenience,” Furner said during the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2024 State of Retail & the Consumer discussion on Thursday. 

According to Furner, “people are willing to trade off, in some cases, prices for things that are more convenient.” 

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During the fourth annual discussion, which centers around the health of American consumers and the retail industry, the NRF projected that retail sales growth would increase between 2.5% and 3.5% to between $5.23 trillion and $5.28 trillion in 2024. 

That compares to the 3.6% annual sales growth in 2023. 

Retailers, even industry giants such as Walmart and Target, have continually stressed on earnings calls that consumers are value conscious as they continue to battle persisting inflation and high interest rates.

However, NRF CEO Matt Shay argued that “the resiliency of consumers continues to power the American economy.”  

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“We are confident there will be moderate but steady growth through the end of the year,” Shay said. “Successful retailers offer consumers products and services when, where and how they want to shop with prices they want to pay.” 

Furner believes that the companies that will “continue to win” are those that will continue innovating “to serve people in a way that saves them time, takes friction out of their lives, lowers some of the decision-making they have to go through.” 

Given that the pandemic is behind us, Furner said people are focused on looking for more ways to spend time with their families or experience things that they couldn’t do in 2020 and most of 2021. 

“The underlying trend of convenience, I think is with us and is here to stay,” he said.  

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