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Inflation impacts online holiday grocery shopping

Report cites cutbacks in non-essential purchases and fewer items bought per month in 2022


  • Inflation is leading nearly two-thirds of shoppers to cut back on non-essentials such as snacks and candy
  • Both heavy and light users of ecommerce have cut back on the number of items bought online per month
  • Online remains a strong channel for gifts and decorations, as well as other nonfood items and shelf-stable pantry basics

Consumers who tend to shop for groceries online less frequently have cut back on their online spending more than those who are more dedicated to online shopping, according to a new report on holiday shopping trends.

The report, Holidays 2022 from Kroger’s 84.51° data and marketing group, divided hybrid grocery shoppers—those who shop both online and in-store—into two groups: Digital Dabblers and Digital Champs based on their online spending patterns. Digital Dabblers conduct about 85% of their shopping trips in-store, vs. 15% online, while Digital Champs conduct only about a third of their trips in-store.

The price pressures of inflation are leading to changes in the way these shoppers behave, the report found, as households cut back on non-essential items.

In its recent November Consumer Digest, 84.51° found that:

  • 65% of shoppers have been looking for sales, deals, or coupons 
  • 61% are cutting back on non-essentials like snacks and candy
  • 39% are purchasing fewer items on their grocery trips.

A year ago, Digital Dabblers and Digital Champs were both buying about 150 items per month online, but this year both numbers have fallen, to about 138 items for Digital Champs and 134 items for Digital Dabblers.

“If we can expect households to spend more this holiday but pick up less units, it’s even more important for brands to make it into customers’ baskets by pulling creative levers to help shoppers save money,” the report concluded. “Brands can prioritize strategies that drive basket building, including meal solutions, bundles and cross-promotions.”

In addition, the report found that Digital Dabblers use coupons more overall than Digital Champs, and that last year the total sales coming from digital coupons increased for all shoppers by 2% during the holidays vs. the remainder of the year.

Of the survey respondents, more than 80% of Digital Champs use digital coupons on pickup and total ecommerce purchases, and 71% of Digital Dabblers use digital coupons on in-store purchases.

While seeking inspiration for holiday recipes, 30% use social media, 20% use phone apps and 28% watch videos.

The report showed the differences in channel preferences among different items, with only 30% of shoppers reporting they would buy all their holiday gifts in store, compared with 81% who buy all their fresh fruits and vegetables for the holidays in-store. Other fresh products were also much more likely to be purchased in store, as were beverages.

In addition to gifts, other holiday products that skew toward online buying include decorations, cooking accessories and pantry basics.


Are you concerned about inflation affecting your holiday sales? Let us know in the comments below, or shoot an email to SN Executive Editor Chloe Riley at [email protected]

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