Grocers Slow To Embrace Online Shopping Even As Consumer Interest Doubles

Online grocery shopping is set to double in popularity this year: while 8% of consumers bought groceries online in 2015, 17% say they are likely to do so in 2016, according to research from Unata and Environics. But e-Grocery’s increasing popularity with consumers isn’t being matched by retailers’ offerings: 39% of shoppers who purchased groceries online reported that their primary grocer did not offer this service.

In addition to the danger of leaving money on the table, retailers that don’t offer an e-Commerce option risk losing customers altogether. Nearly two thirds (64%) of those who have shopped for groceries online say they would be likely to switch retailers in search of an exceptional e-Grocery experience.

The report, titled: The 2016 Grocery eCommerce Forecast, surveyed more than 500 online shoppers across the U.S. about their intended shopping habits for online grocery in 2016.

Online Shoppers = Valuable Shoppers

While the actual number of e-Grocery shoppers remains relatively low, many of those that do purchase online are highly valuable. They are in (or entering) their prime earning years: consumers from Generation X are twice as likely (8%) as Millennials (3%) to say they would “very likely” purchase groceries online in 2016.


Additionally, the majority of e-Grocery shoppers earn more than $100,000 per year, and shoppers with children (21%) are twice as likely to buy online in 2016 than those without children (11%). Obviously, larger households buy more groceries than single or childless ones.

Consumers who already have tried grocery shopping online in 2015 are on board with the concept: 72% say they are “very likely” to shop online for groceries again in 2016. To be more specific, they will shop online if they can find a retailer offering this service: only 13% of shoppers whose primary grocer does not offer online shopping are still likely to buy groceries online in 2016. Expanding into digital channels therefore represents a significant opportunity for supermarkets and other grocery retailers.

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