NEW DATA: Digital Features Can Help Grocers Win Over 43 Percent Of Shoppers

The weekly trip to the grocery store was once a central fixture of consumers’ routines, but that tradition might be falling by the wayside.

In the U.S., 17% of consumers say they are buying groceries online more often now than they did before the pandemic began in March 2020, even as they show signs of returning to stores as they once did.

It is clear that grocers and other merchants will need to provide shoppers digital purchasing options if they hope to win over new customers and keep their returning shoppers loyal. The only question is: Which services will go the farthest in meeting digital-first shoppers’ rapidly evolving demands?

This is only one of the questions that PYMNTS set out to answer in What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, a collaboration with ACI Worldwide. We surveyed a census-balanced panel of 2,300 U.S. consumers about how they shop and pay for their groceries to learn how their grocery shopping habits have shifted in the past 18 months and how digital rewards programs can help grocers drive sales in an increasingly digital-first market.

PYMNTS’ research shows not only that consumers are buying more of their groceries online than they did prior to March 2020, but also that their reasons for doing so have radically changed since then. Seventy-six percent of consumers who buy their groceries online now say that they do so because it is easier and more convenient than shopping in stores, for example, and 57% do so because it is quicker than shopping in stores. This is up from 60% and 37% who cited ease, convenience and speed in October, respectively. Consumers are also less worried about exposure to COVID-19 now than they were in October, although the majority still express concern about contracting the virus in stores.

It is also worth noting that consumers prefer shopping for groceries via mobile than on any other connected device. Fifty-five percent of all online grocery shoppers report shopping and paying for their digital grocery purchases on smartphones or tablets, compared to 38% who shop for them on laptops or desktop computers. There are also 5% who buy groceries using voice-active devices like smart speakers. It is therefore clear that providing smartphone-enabled shopping features will be central to helping grocers drive conversion going forward.

The growing importance of mobile devices is only one part of a much larger story about how the increasingly digital-first economy is fundamentally changing consumers’ grocery shopping habits. What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences delves into the details of how consumers’ demands from their grocers have shifted since March 2020, and how they are poised to change going forward.

To learn more about what grocers can do to drive sales as consumers shift to grocery shopping online, download the report.