Online Grocery Sales Growing Sharply

Consumers are increasingly willing to do their food shopping online. That is the takeaway from a new Harris Poll that indicates about a third of American consumers have ordered something to eat off the web in recent memory. If consumers who never buy anything online at all are subtracted from the calculations, the figure goes up to about 45 percent.

Unsurprisingly, the most common users group for online food ordering are college-educated millennial parents living in urban areas, earning more than $50K per year. The favored things to buy are snacks (20 percent of consumers) and non-alcoholic drinks (17 percent). Consumers also favored dry package goods, produce, meat and seafood and dairy products (15 percent to 17 percent range), while frozen foods, canned goods and baking products all rounded out the bottom of the list with 14 percent of consumers or less reporting online purchases.

As for the reasons, lack of availability in local stores lead the list with 52 percent of respondents offering it as an explanation, which about a quarter say is to cut down on grocery trips.

Consumers in the U.S., according to Morgan Stanley, will spend about $42 billion online on groceries, a 163-percent increase from last year. When stacked up against U.S. commerce department figures that indicates online grocery was about 2.3 percent of the total national grocery market last year, and is on track to be about 6 percent this year.


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