Who’s Buying CPG Products Online?

More than half of US adults, survey finds

September 20, 2017

More than half of all US adults purchase consumer packaged goods online, a new survey found. These digital shoppers tend to be young and can be found all across the country, not merely isolated in coastal enclaves, the research showed.

The June 2017 survey by Maru/Matchbox indicated that 53% of respondents had purchased a personal care product, household product, salty snack, nonalcoholic beverage or alcoholic beverage digitally in the past month.

About half of the digital shoppers—Maru/Matchbox said they totaled 130 million—had made an online purchase in almost all of the categories.

While it’s not surprising that the digital shopping group would skew young, the cohort’s attitudes about the types of products they purchase reflect the tidal changes that are roiling the CPG and retail industries. And they signal that those alterations are not merely a fad, but a sign of the future.

The digital shoppers were 50% more likely to say they buy new brands that are not necessarily well-known, and twice as likely to gravitate toward products with natural ingredients and those that are environmentally friendly.

Regardless of product category—anything from a bottle of wine to a box of detergent—the survey found that digital CPG buyers tend to see themselves as open to new and innovative brands, as well as healthier, sustainably sourced products.

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Retailers, CPG Companies Rush to Redesign Products

Major CPG companies are racing to adjust to these new tastes. As previously reported by eMarketer, a study from The Consumer Goods Forum, a global industry network that counts among its members many of the biggest CPG companies and retailers, found that about 180,000 products worldwide were redesigned—or, in its words, “reformulated”—in 2016 to meet consumer demands for healthier diets and lifestyles.

That’s more than double the 84,000 reformulations in 2015, and vastly more than the 22,500 in 2014, according to The Consumer Goods Forum’s research.

The Maru/Matchbox survey also found that digital shoppers are considerably more likely to associate online grocery shopping with “discovering new things,” “great selection,” “unique products” and “exclusive products.”

It also noted that digital shoppers “are found in equal numbers in all regions of the US.” Furthermore, their numbers are equally divided between men and women.

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