More Shoppers Testing Online Grocery Shopping

But many don’t have ready access to a digital grocery option

April 6, 2017

While the majority of grocery shopping is still conducted in-store, more consumers are testing and adopting ecommerce options for buying food. Brands and retailers are beginning to put the pieces together to offer more online options.

“Shoppers are definitely taking notice of their expanding grocery buying options,” said eMarketer’s Patricia Orsini, author of a new report on ecommerce in the grocery sector. “Several studies show a marked rise in the amount of money and time people will spend grocery shopping digitally in 2017.”

Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can read the full report here.

The number of shoppers who purchase groceries digitally will rise significantly this year, according to February 2017 data from retail marketing and analytics software company Unata and consultancy Brick Meets Click. Close to one-third (31%) of US internet users said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to buy groceries online in 2017—up from 19% in 2016.

A March 2017 report from financial research firm Cowen and Company found that 12% of US internet users purchased groceries online at least once a month in 2016; another 22% said they were likely to do so in the future.

Still, that leaves a large number of people who haven’t tried and don’t plan to try digital shopping for groceries.

“There are many reasons people have not tried online grocery shopping,” said Orsini. “An aversion to having someone else choose produce and other fresh products is one oft-cited reason. But for many, an important factor is simply not having access to a retailer that offers online services.”

For more on the state of grocery ecommerce, listen in as analyst Patricia Orsini highlights some key findings in our “Behind the Numbers” podcast.