Food Retailers Can No Longer Avoid Mobile

Food Retailers Can No Longer Avoid Mobile
89% of U.S. grocery shoppers are using smartphones, up 22% since 2015, according to Acosta research.

Most U.S. grocery shoppers are comfortable using digital and online tools as they shop at food retailers, according to a new report from sales and marketing agency Acosta.

The findings underscore how much grocery shopping is changing, and the upcoming challenges and opportunities for food retailers in dealing with increasingly connected consumers. After all, according to the new Acosta report, “The Mobile-ization of Grocery Shopping,” 89% of U.S. grocery shoppers are using smartphones, up 22% since 2015.

"Smartphones have grown to become a huge part of daily life, so it's only natural that retailers and shoppers are connecting this technology with the grocery-buying experience," said Colin Stewart, EVP, business intelligence at Jacksonville, Florida-based Acosta. "We saw increased mobile-ization numbers this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shopping experience has significantly changed, and many consumers are limiting their trips to the grocery store and being as efficient as possible with their time in the store. To do this, they are looking to mobile solutions more and more."

The report also found that:

  • 58% of U.S. shoppers agreed that they're comfortable using digital/online tools to assist with grocery shopping, up significantly from 35% of shoppers in 2015.
  • A shopper's age and generation strongly correlate with how comfortable they feel using digital tools for grocery shopping, with 74% of Millennial shoppers feeling comfortable compared with fewer than half of Boomer shoppers.
  • More shoppers are viewing the grocery circular on their smartphones. In 2020, 34% of shoppers viewed the grocery circular online, and 26% of shoppers viewed the grocery circular via a retailer app.
  • More than seven in 10 shoppers reported using a grocery retailer's app. Shoppers use this technology for online orders as well as for other reasons, including to find products in the store and participate in loyalty programs.
  • Many grocery shoppers follow brands/products (48%) as well as retailers/stores (44%) on social media. Shoppers follow for special promotions or discounts, to learn about new products, to learn about special events or sales, and to get ideas for product use or recipes.

"Mobile-assisted grocery shopping is here to stay and offers a great opportunity for brands and retailers to truly meet the needs of today's shoppers," said Stewart. "By delivering an end-to-end approach, from mobile recipe/meal planning and list making to e-commerce and an in-store experience that is enhanced by mobile, they can not only attract more customers, but also engage with them in new and meaningful ways — during the pandemic and beyond."

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