Skip navigation
maninsupermarket.jpg Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Many Americans unconvinced about buying groceries online

Survey finds preference for in-person purchases, high satisfaction with supermarkets

For most U.S. consumers, it will take a big change in shopping behaviors and attitudes to shift their grocery purchases online, according to a new study by Morning Consult.

Of 2,000 U.S. adults polled, 67% have never purchased packaged food or beverage products online, the e-survey and market research firm said in its “Consumer Insights On The Food and Beverage Industry” report. Meanwhile, 65% of those who have never bought groceries online indicated that they have no interest in doing so in the future.

Sixty-five percent of people who haven’t made food and beverage purchases online said the top reason was that they prefer to do so in person. Other reasons for not buying groceries online included convenience (8%), cost (7%) and uncertainty about the best online retailer to use (7%).

Still, a fair number of these consumers aren’t ruling out shopping for groceries online in the future. The report found that 39% are open to purchasing food or beverages online but either just haven’t (21%) or are waiting until the options to do so improve (18%).

Of the 33% of people who have bought food or beverages online, 47% cited convenience as the main reason. Others cited the options available (23%), cost (18%) and a general preference for that shopping channel (2%).

Morning Consult’s report revealed a low level of online grocery purchasing frequency. Fifty-six percent of online shoppers said they buy food or beverages a few times per year, and 23% do so monthly. Only 16% said they buy these products online on a weekly basis.

In terms of basket size, 62% of online grocery shoppers said they buy small amounts of items as needed. Just 27% purchase all of their groceries for the week online, while 11% buy food or beverages online in bulk.

The survey found a few demographic variables in online grocery shopping. Among men, 38% have bought food or beverages online versus 29% of women. Forty-five percent of people with $100,000 or more in annual income and 38% of those with income of $50,000 to $100,000 a year have bought groceries online, compared with 29% of consumers with income of less than $50,000 annually.

The percentage of respondents who have purchased groceries online was almost evenly divided among rural, suburban and urban shoppers, with the latter two groups slightly more likely to have done so.

So why aren’t more Americans looking to go online to buy food and beverages? The poll shows that the vast majority are content with the supermarkets in their area. Fifty-five percent of shoppers surveyed said they’re very satisfied with their nearby grocery stores, and 35% said they’re somewhat satisfied.

What’s more, 65% of consumers who have never purchased food or beverages online said they enjoy shopping for groceries — indicating that they’re satisfied with the in-store experience. Among people who have bought groceries online, 74% reported they enjoy shopping for food and beverages.

While home delivery of groceries has exploded, Americans do have their limits on this service, Morning Consult’s findings show. Of all respondents, 29% would be willing to pay $1 to $5 for home delivery, and 14% would pay $6 to $10. Yet 51% indicated they aren’t willing to pay extra for home delivery.

Unsurprisingly, those who have purchased food or beverages online are more open to shelling out a bit more for home delivery. Thirty-two percent of this shopper group would pay $1 to $5 for home delivery, while 23% would pay $6 to 10%. Just over a third (35%) wouldn’t want to pay extra for home delivery.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.