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Millions Plan More Online Grocery Shopping in Coming Months: NPD

In the grocery industry, ecommerce is big business – and will soon be getting bigger. Although 52 million U.S. consumers – roughly one-sixth the size of the U.S. population – already grocery shop online, 20 million current, lapsed or new to the process plan to do more of it in the next six months, finds a new report from Port Washington, N.Y.-based research firm The NPD Group.

Although the grocery channel lags other channels in e-commerce in terms of development, NPD's “The Virtual Grocery Store” study finds the fundamental shift in the country’s demographics is one reason consumers are more adopting of shopping for food online. Younger generations in particular, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, who grew up with technology, favor grocery shopping online, finding it “second nature … to use the Internet for all types of purchases.” Millennials especially find the process appealing due to their appreciation of global cuisines – and the convenience of finding all they need to make exotic dishes online.

Satisfaction abounds when it comes to online grocery shopping, the report ads, as more than six in 10 (60 percent) of consumers are completely satisfied by the experience, while 6 percent are neutral or dissatisfied, and others are just somewhat satisfied. While convenience, perhaps not surprisingly, is the top satisfaction driver, delivery options and shipping deals, infinite assortment and tax advantages also appeal.

For future success, brick-and-mortar retailers need to adjust to ensure they’re not “losing out” with younger, more tech-savvy consumers, said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.

“Now is the time to start developing ecommerce programs or to expand your current services,” he said. “Whether a manufacturer or retailer, now is the time to act while shoppers are experimenting, and there is significant growth on the horizon.”

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