Most US Consumers Don’t Shop Online For Groceries

Online sales may be skyrocketing, but when it comes to shopping online for groceries, eCommerce is still just scratching the surface.

That’s according to American-based performance management consulting company Gallup’s annually-conducted “Consumption Habits” survey. Chain Store Age reported that, based on the results of the survey, only 9 percent of adults in the U.S. purchase groceries online at least once a month. That percentage drops to 4 percent when asked if adults grocery shop online weekly.

On the flip side, 83 percent of U.S. survey respondents said someone in the household shops in person at a supermarket for groceries at least once a week. The survey noted that since the lion’s share of U.S. consumers still shop for food in brick-and-mortar grocery stores, there is an opportunity for huge growth in the online grocery shopping sector.

This data represents one of the reasons Amazon moved to acquire Whole Foods Market earlier this year. Since the deal was announced, there has been growing speculation the eCommerce giant will use Whole Foods Market as a way to expand its online food sales.

Gallup’s research noted that U.S. adults’ preference to go to brick-and-mortar supermarkets and grocery stores could change, similar to how department stores lost a lot of traffic, sales and customers to online shopping.

“Traditional grocery stores may find their market share continuing to erode because of changing shopping patterns, particularly online shopping, and may be forced to maintain viability by cutting costs and reducing service,” the report said.

Other findings in the annual Gallup report showed that 15 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 do shop online for groceries at least one time each month, while 12 percent in the 30 to 49 age group and 10 percent of those aged 50 to 64 handle grocery shopping online. In contrast, just 2 percent of people over the age of 65 turn to the internet to get their food shopping done.  Late last year Statista said 86 percent of Americans still shop solely at brick-and-mortar grocery stores, and the industry accounted for just 2 percent of the more than $341 billion spent online last year.

In an interview with PYMNTS late last year Chris Bryson, founder and CEO of Unata, a Toronto-based omnichannel and online sales solution provider for supermarkets and grocery store chains said that while the lack of online grocery sales and the dearth of players in the industry surprises him, there are significant differences between selling and delivering perishables and other groceries and selling other retail goods via online ordering. Bryson said that large number of goods, along with the range of offers and promotions offered at various locations, makes it much more difficult for grocery stores to offer the kind of online solutions that many other retailers provide.



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