With so many supermarkets to choose from, you’ve probably had instances where you tried to decide which chain outlet offers the best shopper experience. When it comes down to HEB or Walmart, which retailer is the best choice for you?
HEB and Walmart are successful retail stores, but both retailers maintain different business values. HEB focuses on providing the best shopping experience, while Walmart strives to keep prices low. Additionally, most of the goods sold at Walmart are cheaper than at HEB.
This article will discuss the market rivalry between HEB and Walmart and how each retailer differs in branding and attracting customers. I have also prepared a comparison table with goods pricing from each store so you can decide which store is the one for you.
The Competition: HEB and Walmart
As an American, you’ve most definitely heard of Walmart and shopped at one of their outlets. But not every American is familiar with HEB, mainly because you can mostly only find this retailer in Texas. In contrast, you can find a Walmart in almost every state in America, except Hawaii.
There are 320 HEBs and 601 Walmarts in the Lone Star State as of 2022. According to 2020 data analyzed by Axios, HEB is the frontrunner in Austin, with a 48% retail share compared to Walmart’s 18.4%.
However, Walmart dominates the U.S. market as the largest hypermarket chain globally. While HEB is primarily a supermarket, Walmart’s chains sell everything from food to electronics to furniture and apparel.
So if you’re not from Texas, you will have an easier time deciding where to shop because there are no HEBs for you to visit.
Branding and Popularity
How each retailer markets their brand is vital because it shows how well they are at drawing in customers.
Let’s look at the strategies HEB and Walmart have used to attract consumers.
HEB: Here Everything’s Better
Customer experience plays a significant role in HEB’s branding strategy, as the company prioritizes emotional connections with buyers.
HEB taps into what Robert Cialdini calls “unity,” whereby the company tries its best to influence consumer behavior through common attributes such as shared identity. On its website, HEB proudly declares that it has been serving Texans since 1905 and that it “thinks like the customer, not about the customer”.
You can find products with Texan references on the shelves, such as the “San Antonio” and “Houston” coffee blends or Texas-shaped tortilla chips. Therefore, HEB’s empire is successful because they sell goods that resonate with their regional customers.
Walmart: Save Money. Live Better
In 1962, Walmart’s founder Sam Walton started the business with a vision to keep prices as low as possible. The company has consistently abided by this principle throughout the years, resulting in a solid customer base that is loyal to the brand.
The variety of products sold at Walmart is seemingly never ending — you can find almost every type of item imaginable, and stores can be found anywhere. Walmart estimates that 90% of Americans live within 10 miles (16.1 km) of a Walmart store.
Today, Walmart’s in-store and online catalogs comprise over 160 million products. Being a sizable wholesale retailer gives the business strong bargaining power with its merchants, allowing them to maintain costs and rates at an all-time low.
Is HEB Cheaper Than Walmart?
Product pricing plays a significant role in determining where shoppers buy their goods. You might be wondering which retailer carries the heftier price tag?
No HEB is not cheaper than Walmart for both name-brand items and store-brand goods. HEB is privately-owned and predominantly sources local produce, while Walmart is a publicly-traded business that imports products from many places.
Typically, consumers will try to go for the shop that provides them the best value for the least amount of money.
Below, I will share two tables that compare some of the current (March 2023) prices that you can find in both HEB and Walmart. The first table looks at everyday name-brand items, and the second shows prices for house-brand goods. I also compared H-E-B vs Kroger.
|Cosmic Crisp Apples||$1.18||$1.66|
|Dr. Pepper Soda, 24-pack||$6.98||$9.23|
|Kraft Thick ‘n Creamy Macaroni & Cheese||$0.98||$1.15|
|General Mills Cheerios Cereal Family Size||$3.98||$4.10|
|Lysol Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Cleaner Spray||$3.34||$3.37|
|Kleenex Ultra Soft Facial Tissues, 110 total tissues||$1.58||$2.25|
|Asparagus, 10oz (0.28kg)||$4.18||$5.13|
|Organic Bananas, bunch||$0.71/lb (0.45kg)||$0.59/lb (0.45kg)|
|Boneless Chicken Breasts||$2.28/lb (0.45kg)||$3.59/lb (0.45kg)|
How Pricing Is Affected Behind the Scenes
From the tables above, the prices at Walmart are cheaper overall compared to what HEB sells.
There are a few reasons why prices vary in both retailers. Knowing how a brand maintains its price list might help you decide where you would like to shop.
Generally, it comes down to the type of ownership the company has.
HEB is a privately-owned family-run business that controls every aspect of its private label’s distribution, manufacturing, and logistics. Essentially, HEB does everything by itself, so they rely less on external suppliers. Additionally, because HEB has more control over its internal procedures, it can afford higher quality products with stricter quality control measures.
In contrast, Walmart is a publicly-traded company that uses its enormous purchasing power as leverage for bargaining with external suppliers. Due to Walmart’s massive market share, manufacturers are compelled to accept Walmart’s push for low prices to keep their products on the shelves. The lower costs incurred translate into lower prices for shoppers.
Ultimately, where you choose to shop will depend on your individual preferences. However, if you live outside of Texas, you probably will have to visit Walmart for your shopping needs.
The pricing list for Walmart is cheaper than HEB. While Walmart offers a broader variety of goods (over 160 million products), the quality at HEB might be better in some cases because of how they operate the business internally.
Choosing between HEB and Walmart will depend on which retailer can meet your consumer values best.