Consumers Are Increasingly Going to Supermarkets Only to Buy Food

grocery, food, consumers, eCommerce, brick and mortar

As eCommerce picks away at brick-and-mortar grocers’ share of center-aisle sales, shoppers are increasingly seeing the supermarket as a place to buy just food — not all the day-to-day basics they need to get through the week — PYMNTS Intelligence reveals.

By the Numbers

For PYMNTS’ report “Changes in Grocery Shopping Habits and Perceptions,” we surveyed more than 2,400 U.S. consumers at the end of last year to understand developing trends affecting grocery purchasing and to get a sense of the reasons for these shifts.

The results revealed that, when it comes to non-food items, consumers are increasingly turning towards eCommerce channels. Roughly half of respondents reported that they have been pulling back on purchasing cleaning supplies, personal and healthcare products and paper products at physical grocery stores in the past few years.

The Data in Action

Indeed, eCommerce players are seizing on this opportunity to pick off sales from grocers. For instance, Amazon shared in its annual report earlier this year how it has been approaching this task.

“Amazon has built a somewhat unusual, but significant grocery business over nearly 20 years,” Amazon President and CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a letter to shareholders. “Similar to how other mass merchants entered the grocery space in the 1980s, we began by adding products typically found in supermarket aisles that don’t require temperature control, such as paper products, canned and boxed food, candy and snacks, pet care, health and personal care, and beauty.”

He explained that the eCommerce giant’s assortment in these categories of 3 million items eclipsed the “typical supermarket’s” 30,000-product selection in the same areas.

Additionally, direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have emerged in these spaces, seizing on shoppers’ demand to have the products delivered directly to their homes, with consumers having grown accustomed to such eCommerce options since 2020.