Online Grocery is for More Than Just Toilet Paper

An online survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that almost 50 percent of Americans consider a food product  “a good fit for online shopping” if it has a long shelf life, is nonperishable or is difficult to find in stores.

We've realized that for a long time – no surprise.  What is a surprise is that Harris found that 16 percent of respondents bought fresh fruits and vegetables online in the previous six months, which is the same percentage of those who bought dry packaged goods online. 

Only slightly fewer – 15 percent – said that they bought dairy, including milk, cheese or yogurt, and 15 percent said that they bought meat and seafood, as reported by Food Navigator

The study surmounts that the existing adage that consumers won’t buy produce online because they can’t see, touch or smell it before they buy it doesn’t hold water, and reinforces the belief that consumers are willing to buy produce online at least once, and will do it again if they receive high-quality products. 

The Harris Poll found 31 percent of Americans bought food online in the past six months, and is more heavily weighted toward young city dwellers as well as those who are more educated. Online shopping is more prevalent among Millennials (36 percent versus 31 percent of average Americans); college grads (35 percent versus 26 percent, with a high school education or less); and urban dwellers (38 percent versus 30 percent in the suburbs, and 25 percent in rural communities). 

One other survey finding is that the convenience of online shopping, along with the wide range of products available, isn't enough to stop food shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Only 10 percent of all Americans said that online grocery shopping has replaced some or all of their routine grocery-shopping trips.

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