TECHNOLOGY

Gallup survey: U.S. grocery shoppers buck online shopping trend — for now

BY Marianne Wilson

Shopping for groceries online has a long way to go before it catches on with the vast majority of U.S. consumers.

Nine percent of U.S. adults report that their household shop online for groceries at least once a month, including 4% who do it at least weekly, according to Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits survey. By contrast, almost all Americans say someone in their family shops for groceries in person at least once a month, with 83% going at least once a week.

This pattern — highly frequent grocery shopping occurring mostly in person — highlights the possibility for enormous growth that exists in the online grocery business, the survey reported. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market recently underscored this possibility, giving rise to speculation the online giant will use the grocery chain as a launching pad to expand its online operations into the food sector, according to the survey.

In the report, Gallup noted that while the vast majority of consumers still mostly do their grocery shopping in person, this may change, with experts asserting the traditional grocery business may be in a situation similar to that of department stores in recent years, with more retail space than the market can sustain.

“Traditional grocery stores may find their market share continuing to erode because of changing shopping patterns, particularly online shopping, and may be forced to maintain viability by cutting costs and reducing service, the report said.

Here are some key findings from the Gallup report:

• Fifteen percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 29 say they purchase groceries online at least monthly, similar to the 12% among those 30 to 49 and 10% of those 50 to 64.

• A negligible 2% of those aged 65 and older shop for groceries online at least once a month. At the same time, however, age has little relationship to shopping in person at grocery stores, which is nearly universal across all age groups.

•Americans living in the eastern U.S. and those residing in cities are modestly more likely than their counterparts to go grocery shopping online.

• Working adults, perhaps because they have less time to shop, are almost twice as likely as those who are not working to do their grocery shopping online.

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