Just 12% of Grocery Shoppers Bought Groceries Online in 2016

More than half of those who didn’t wanted to see what they were buying in person

Author: Ben Clague

March 6, 2017

Despite a variety of digital rivals, the brick-and-mortar grocery sector has yet to be seriously disrupted by online competition. Only 12% of US grocery shoppers bought their groceries online in 2016, according to a March 2017 report from Cowen and Company.

The report found that two-thirds of US internet users surveyed between January and December 2016 preferred shopping in-store to online. And more than half of respondents said being able to inspect food was a reason they would rather visit a physical grocery store.

In addition, 16% said they had never bought groceries online because they needed groceries at the last minute.

But availability and convenience also factor into why internet users in the US aren’t making digital grocery purchases. Sixteen percent also said that digital grocery shopping wasn’t convenient, while 14% revealed that online grocery shopping wasn’t even an option for them due to a lack of services.

The good news for retailers that offer digital grocery purchases: Very few people seem to avoid using such services because of bad experiences. Only 2% cited a bad digital shopping experience heard via word-of-mouth as the reason they didn’t purchase groceries online.