Online to make up 21.5 percent of grocery’s sales in five years
Grocery sales made online are expected to grow more than 60 percent from pre-pandemic levels to $250 billion in 2025, accounting for 21.5 percent of the industry’s total, according to a new study.
More than 60,000 Americans were surveyed for the report from Mercatus and Incisv. Sixty-two percent said they were shopping online because of COVID-19. Forty percent of those said they were likely or very likely to continue doing so after the pandemic has passed.
Most grocery shoppers prefer buying goods from retailers that sell online and have nearby physical locations, as well. Increasing consumer acceptance of buy online, pick up in-store and curbside pickup programs are among the factors. Retailers with systems that integrate digital and physical operations seamlessly are more likely to attract and retain customers now and over the long haul, according to the study.
Thirty percent of shoppers surveyed said that they changed their preferred place to shop after the coronavirus outbreak happened. Sixty percent moved their shopping from one physical store retailer to another and 40 percent found new online shopping destinations. Only eight percent of those surveyed said they moved their grocery shopping from a store-based retailer to a pure-play e-tailer.
“We analyzed more than 48 million data points and found that shoppers are highly satisfied and loyal to their preferred grocery store, but this loyalty does not extend to the online channel,” Amar Mokha, COO and benchmarking lead, Incisiv, said in a statement. “While the adoption rate of online grocery has increased significantly, grocers need to improve pickup and delivery slot availability, promotion and coupon availability, and product substitutions to improve customer loyalty online.”
The percentage of shoppers who have gone online to purchase groceries has climbed to 43 percent in the last six months, up from 24 percent two years ago. The biggest reasons for making the shift were concerns about the virus (62 percent), convenience (62 percent) and time savings (42 percent). Real-time inventory visibility is most important to shoppers who go online to buy their groceries.
Looking at the demographics of current online grocery shoppers shows the biggest changes being made by older consumers. Thirty-five percent of shoppers 45+ ordered groceries online for the first time since the pandemic hit. Forty-six percent of respondents said they have begun using new fulfillment methods (curbside) for the first time, as well.
- Online Grocery Sales Projected to Reach $250B by 2025, According to New Research From Mercatus and Incisiv – Mercatus/Incisiv/Business Wire
- eGrocery’s New Reality: The Pandemic’s Lasting Impact on U.S. Grocery Shopping Behavior – Mercatus
- How can grocers hold onto their new most valuable customers? – RetailWire
- Has COVID-19 revealed pickup’s pain points? – RetailWire
- How should grocers prepare for a possible pandemic stockpiling redux? – RetailWire
- Is there a path to profitable grocery delivery? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How long will it be before seamless omnichannel operations, including real-time inventory visibility, will become table stakes for grocery chains looking to compete for market share? Should grocers place more value on those shoppers who make purchases online and in stores than those that prefer one over the other?