U.S. Consumers Take an Omnichannel Approach When It Comes to Grocery Shopping

Most online grocery shoppers also shop at brick-and-mortar grocery stores

April 25, 2018 —Adoption of online grocery shopping is moving at a slower pace than other consumer categories, but it’s growing with about 10 percent of U.S. consumers now regularly buying groceries, reports  The NPD Group, a leading global information company.  Although there are more consumers buying their groceries online, they haven’t jumped all in. Nearly all online grocery shoppers (99%) still shop in brick-and-mortar grocery stores.

Consumer preferences when shopping for foods and beverages and logistical challenges are the primary reasons why consumers haven’t gone all in on online grocery shopping.  Wanting to pick out their own fresh items was the top barrier to their shopping online for groceries, followed by not wanting to pay a delivery fee. Many consumers (46 percent) who are lapsed online grocery shoppers or have never shopped online like that walking through a store remind them of what else they need.  And, even though one of the key benefits of online shopping is speed, 46 percent of consumers who aren’t online grocery shopping enthusiasts feel it’s faster to go to the store.

The benefits of online grocery shopping, like not needing to leave home, price comparisons, speed, and not having to wait in lines are enough for a growing number of consumers to be enticed, but not enough to get them to do all of their grocery shopping online.  Groceries may in fact follow the same path as other categories, like electronics, where consumers still want to see the item up close and personal.  Like electronics, often the answer is in an omnichannel approach, which many of the major grocers are now offering, reports NPD.  

“With major brick-and-mortar grocery stores announcing click & collect and various speedy delivery options, the line between physical and online is blurring and, as a result, consumers are getting the best of both worlds,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “There is also a place for pure-play ecommerce grocers but it looks like, as of now, consumers want a seamless experience between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce.”


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