Over half of current online grocery shoppers say they plan to do more online shopping next year.

Mike Pomranz
November 07, 2018

Online grocery shopping is a force to be reckoned with: Amazon didn’t make a huge bet on Whole Foods just to give them a chance to sell Echos in an upscale supermarket. But the bigger question right now is how quickly are shoppers willing to adapt. Last month, we saw a study suggesting that though online grocery shopping was indeed increasing, a large majority of people still preferred to shop in-store. But new data suggests that, despite an appreciation for the status quo, confidence in online grocery shopping is growing at a rapid pace.

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According to the 2018 US Online Grocery Shopper Study, conducted by The Retail Feedback Group (RFG) and , about half of the current online grocery shoppers surveyed said they plan to do more online grocery shopping in 2019 than they have this year. And in a marked shift from earlier sentiments, shoppers seem to be gaining more willingness to purchase fresh items than they used to.

In the past, online food shopping tended to skew towards packaged goods that customers knew wouldn’t have trouble in transit, but this new survey found that online purchases of produce and cheese both jumped 50 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. The same goes for meat and seafood, which saw 40 percent and 46 percent growth in sales respectively.

“The willingness to purchase fresh items in higher frequencies than last year illustrates that providers are improving their ability to overcome objections that historically have been limiters in these areas,” Brian Numainville, RFG principal, said. “While there is still room for growth, this finding provides encouraging news for retailers and others offering online food shopping services.”

Still, as the survey reveals, some old biases persists. For instance, among people who said they didn’t want to buy meat online, 55 percent said they had concerns that the products might not be properly refrigerated during delivery.

Regardless, Doug Madenberg, another RFG principal, pointed out another important takeaway from the survey. Not only did online grocery shoppers describe their experience as more efficient and convenient, they also found it more enjoyable and pleasantly surprising. He suggested those findings “should be a wake-up call for all brink-and-mortar retailers.”

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