Study: Consumers are still not ‘all in’ on online grocery shopping

While more consumers are buying their groceries online, they aren’t ready to give up their store visits just yet.

About 10% of consumers across the United States are now regularly buying groceries online, however the adoption of online grocery shopping is moving at a slower pace than other consumer categories, according to new data from The NDP Group.

According to findings, the benefits of online grocery shopping, like not needing to leave home, price comparisons, speed, and not waiting in lines, are enough for a growing number of consumers to be enticed. Yet, these factors are not encouraging them to do all of their grocery shopping online.

Nearly all online grocery shoppers (99%) still shop in brick and mortar grocery stores — and the reasons for their visits vary. 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%) who are lapsed online grocery shoppers or have never shopped online said walking through a store reminds them of what else they need. While one of the key benefits of online shopping is speed, 46% of consumers who aren’t online grocery shopping enthusiasts feel it’s still faster to go to the store.

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, according to NPD.

“With major brick-and-mortar grocery stores announcing click-and-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,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “There is also a place for pure-play e-commerce grocers, but it looks like, as of now, consumers want a seamless experience between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce.”