Shoppers Warming Up to Online Grocery Shopping: Study

More shoppers are receptive to online grocery shopping, says a new study, which gives grocers more reason to latch on to this fast-growing opportunity.

Online grocery is one of the largest sources of growth for retailers and consumer product manufacturers with sales growing five or six times greater than conventional channels, according to the study, “Capturing the Online Grocery Opportunity,” by A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm.

“Online grocery is at an inflection point nearly a third of U.S. primary grocery shoppers having tried it at least once,” said Randy Burt, a co-author of the study and a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney. “We expect the category to grow 15-18 percent over the next decade, making it a key source of growth for both retailers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers."

Highlights of the study include:

  • While all age groups are embracing online grocery, buyers in the 25-34 age groups (37 percent) have the greatest percentage of shoppers who say they have bought groceries online.
  • Online shoppers use both websites and apps to shop for groceries.
  • Many customers say they still avoid online grocery because they think the costs are higher.
  • Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents say they would shop more online if they were offered convenient checkout and could quickly reorder items.  
  • Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents say they would buy more groceries online if they could guarantee the quality and freshness of products.

“As availability expands and shoppers gain experience shopping for groceries online, traditional barriers such as concerns about freshness of perishables are eroding,” Burt said.

The study concluded that successful grocery retailers will balance traditional and online capabilities, segment and penetrate the most attractive marketing opportunities, and deliver a “seamless consumer proposition that meaningfully engages shoppers.”  

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