The latest grocery shopper survey from Brick Meets Click/Mercatus found that shoppers are mixing it up and increasingly driven by cost concerns.
If inflation is the latest curve ball in this already-volatile decade, it’s impacting the trajectory of consumers’ shopping habits. The latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey found that higher costs are spurring shoppers to adjust their buying behaviors, leading to mixed results across formats and services.
According to the survey, total online grocery sales rose 1.7% last month compared to May 2021, topping $7.1 billion. Within the e-commerce channel, consumers remain in pickup mode, with pickup sales rising 9% over last year to capture 45% of e-grocery sales. The delivery sector experienced some modest dollar gains but dips in order frequency, while the ship-to-home market is down 16% compared to the previous May.
The fresh Brick Meets Click/Mercatus findings also show that shoppers are walking the line between convenience and price when ordering groceries. Among those who buy consumable products in the traditional grocery and mass spaces, the percentage of those citing cost as the most important criteria has climbed 6% since August 2020 to reach 37%. Demand is even acute in traditional grocery, as the number of shoppers who put cost first on their list of considerations shot up 10%.
“Less than one-quarter of online grocery customers who shop with grocery or mass online use both pickup and delivery services, so the increased cost consideration within this group may actually drive more demand toward pickup,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “Interestingly, for grocery customers, the importance of ‘getting the products you want’ has dropped from the top consideration to the bottom when ranked against the elements of cost and convenience, and this holds true for both pickup and delivery services.”
Survey responses indicate that inflation is having a ripple effect in other choices. Mass customers placed nearly 2% more orders during the month of May, while grocery customers pulled back orders by 5% in that same time frame. The appeal of potential deals in the mass channel is evident in other results showing that the share of grocery’s monthly average user base who also shopped online at mass stores set a new record at 33%.
“Customers appreciate the convenience of ordering online, but they are also becoming more cost conscious,” noted Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus. “So, to defend the base business, grocers can promote pickup to address both issues. Assuming the pickup experience aligns with customer expectations, showcasing the savings associated with pickup’s lower fees, no fuel surcharges, or zero tips can better protect your online customers and sales by highlighting a more affordable alternative to home delivery.”