Two surveys recently released affirm the strength of e-commerce in the grocery sector, both in online shopping and digital payments.
One new report revealed a 16% jump in U.S. online grocery sales in April 2021 compared to April 2020. According to the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, total online grocery sales last month were more than four times higher than pre-pandemic levels, with 67.8 million households in this country buying groceries online in that span. A growing number of consumers are using two or more e-commerce methods, including delivery, pickup and/or ship-to-home.
“Online shopping has remained an attractive way to buy groceries for a sizable segment of the U.S.,” said David Bishop, partner at the Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click. “Last year, retailers were in a race to meet the dramatic surge in demand. This year, it’s about executing a sound and sustainable strategy, with the imperative squarely on improving integration and implementation.”
Adds Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO, Mercatus: “My message to grocery retail executives is blunt. There are no shortcuts. If you want to maximize the value of your digital investment, you also need a well-thought-out operations plan – one that can flex in response to shopper demand and help deliver a top-notch ordering and fulfillment experience.”
Another survey highlights the speed at which consumers are changing the way they buy groceries, especially online. A new global digital payments study from payment solutions provider Pleasanton, Calif.-based Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. shows adoption of digital wallets, digital gift cards, QR codes and bar codes have surged three years ahead of expectations, thanks in large part to the transformative effect of the pandemic. Consumers are using digital payments mostly at online-only retailers (41%), grocery stores (37%) and mass merchandisers (26 percent).
Blackhawk Network's survey found that digital payment methods affect shopper sentiments towards brands and how often they are likely to frequent retailers that offer such options. Survey participants also expressed the need for fast, secure and seamless checkouts and a seamless omnichannel experience in which they can pay the same way online or in-store.
"Shoppers continue to look for easier ways to tap into mobile wallets, digital gift cards, rewards and loyalty points, and as a result, are increasingly seeking retailers that have embraced digital and contactless payments," said Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing for Blackhawk Network.