Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 12-8-2020


Adams, H. 2020. Trader Joe’s: A Case Analysis of Trader Joe's Competitive Strategy. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Holden Adams 2020.


Trader Joe’s has been wildly successful since the store was first founded largely due to their ability to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Found across the United States, Trader Joe’s offers its consumers a unique range of private-label products to their target audience. This case analysis delves into Trader Joe’s competitive strategy and how they plan to sustain their competitive edge in the years to come.

Many factors play a role in the success of Trader Joe’s over the past years. Internally, they carry highly sought after products and have a loyal consumer base. They have found a foothold in the young and educated population. Generally, their products are highly unique and often can’t be found anywhere else. This proves very attractive to their customer base that often likes new and exciting food products.

Externally, a lot of forces are in constant motion that affects the strategic positioning and decision making of Trader Joe’s. This analysis takes a look at 5 key forces within the supermarket industry through the use of Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis. Through this, we are able to see how the major forces of buyers, suppliers, competitors, threats of new entrants, and substitute products affect the supermarket industry. Alongside this, the analysis also uses a PESTEL Analysis to analyze a variety of external forces. Through this, one can see the forces and threats on Trader Joe’s.

Knowing the supermarket environment is key to understanding the current strategy of Trader Joe’s takes on within it. When it comes to remaining competitive, Trader Joe’s falls heavily on their specialty private-label products within their compact stores. Beyond their current strategy, there are many opportunities Trader Joe’s could decide to seize. Trader Joes must find a way to remain sustainable and competitive in future years. Whether this be branching outside the United States or establishing a marketing team. If implemented, these changes would have beneficial effects on the company’s financial statements.