Grocers’ Brick-and-Mortar Engagement Outpaces Retailers’ 2 to 1

When it comes to shopping, consumers are turning to physical stores more for groceries than any other kind of purchase.

By the Numbers

For the report “Consumer Interest in an Everyday App,” created in collaboration with PayPal, PYMNTS Intelligence surveyed more than 2,200 U.S. consumers about, among other matters, how they use internet-connected platforms for various day-to-day activities.

chart, app usage

The results reveal that, when it comes to making different kinds of purchases — grocery, non-grocery retail or restaurant — grocers see far and away the strongest in-person engagement.

One-third of consumers reported having shopped for groceries the old-fashioned way (in stores or by calling someone), versus just 17% that did the same for non-grocery retail and 29% for restaurants.

The Data in Context

Given this ongoing demand, grocers are continuing to rethink the in-store experience. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen described on the grocery giant’s earnings call Thursday (June 20) how the company is enhancing the brick-and-mortar journey.

“They always say retail is detail and it literally is working with every single store,” McMullen said. “… Turnover [continues] to improve. … Our teams are doing a very good job on fresh, and that’s everything from our supply chain to our folks ordering product to using AI to make sure the right stores get the right product, to … getting it out on the shelf. … It’s really all of those things together that we think it’s what’s driving the increased traffic and increased in connection with our customers.”

Walmart, too, the world’s largest grocer, is reconfiguring its stores, as CEO Doug McMillon told analysts on an earnings call last month.

“We’re improving the experience of shopping with us. Our store remodels look good and are performing well,” McMillon said, noting that the company finished 70 such remodels in Q1 fiscal 2025 with plans to do 900 more before the year’s end.