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Are Online Grocers Encouraging Multiple-Stop Shopping?

Apr 13, 2017
Darren Seifer, Executive Director, Industry Analyst ;
Food Consumption

I sometimes feel in the minority of men when it comes to grocery shopping because I actually don’t mind the task. Between NPD’s and my anecdotal research sources (a.k.a. my friends), men typically can’t wait to get the heck out of grocery stores and view the trip as a chore. However, even I don’t mind saving time by having someone else deliver my groceries right to my front door by using an online grocer.

My shopping patterns have changed thanks to the internet and it dawned on me the other day that I’m actually using more, not fewer, channels since much of my purchasing happens online. While I might be using more channels I’m spending less time in a physical store and I’m not alone in this shopping paradigm. Our National Eating Trends®(NET®) shows users of online grocers typically shop at twice as many channels as their offline counterparts (six versus three, respectively).

Are online grocers revolutionizing the shopping experience? I wouldn’t describe pace of change like the runaway grocery cart that’s heading for your brand-new car in the parking lot, but the seeds for future changes have been planted. As I mentioned, men typically have very negative views of grocery shopping but men are becoming increasingly responsible for acquiring their household groceries. More than 40 percent of primary grocery shoppers are now men, but they’re not taking on the task with open arms. This is a leading reason why men, ages 18-34, make up twice their fair share of all online grocery shoppers, according to our report, The Virtual Grocery Store. Since younger and tech savvy consumers are leading the way for the online segment to grow, we should expect this to be a larger behavior in the future.

There are a few things industry players can do now to prepare for this growth. Acknowledge that delivery/- online services have left the gate and are gaining favor with consumers. This underscores the need for manufacturers and retailers to partner on creating strategies to meet consumers wherever they shop. Whether it is delivery, click-and-collect, meal delivery kits, or traditional in-store, retail plans must now be holistic in their approach if they want to guarantee future success. Also, for slower moving or lower distribution products use this as an opportunity to drive sales. With online grocers, it’s less about shelf space and more about availability. And, don’t forget that your competition is just a click away so make sure you don’t give consumers an excuse to leave!

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