Rapidly growing consumer adoption of online grocery shopping has made it imperative for conventional food retailers to offer online options to their shoppers — and understand their success will be determined by a blended performance of the online and offline offerings, according to a study released Monday by Brick Meets Click.
The study, based on a survey of 12,000 U.S. shoppers, found that the percentage of U.S. households that bought groceries online in the last 30 days nearly doubled in the last two years, to 21% in 2015 vs. 11% in 2013. It estimated that 41% of all shoppers have experienced grocery buying online, with 1 in 5 now defined as "active user," of such services. Those users spend an average of 16% of their weekly grocery dollars online, Brick Meets Click said.
"Many consumers see online grocery as a better alternative for at least some of their shopping occasions," study author Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click, said. "In this regard, it's moved into the mainstream set of alternatives that consumers consider when they buy groceries."
The speed at which online shopping will grow depends both of shopper expectations and market opportunity, with those trends influencing one another's growth once shoppers find a service that fits their needs and budget. In the geographic markets covered in the Brick Meets Click study, online spending as a percent of total weekly grocery shopping ranged from 2.4% to a high of 4.4%.
Retailers need to understand different trip missions online grocery shoppers have, and how those trips blend with physical shopping habits, in order to form an effective strategy. Bishop urged retailers to "develop an online value proposition that's at least as good as what their customers are experiencing in the marketplace."
More from the study is available online.
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