Shoppers Still Wary of Online Groceries

However, a new study finds that U.S. delivery of groceries will soon gather steam.
February 06, 2019

SEATTLE – Many U.S. shoppers still don’t like to purchase groceries over the Internet, where only 3% of grocery spending happens, according to a new study by Bain & Go., CNBC reports. Retailers such as Amazon, Kroger and Walmart are rushing to offer delivery, yet consumers haven’t embraced online grocery shopping fully.

The study found that only 3% of U.S. grocery spending happens online, compared to South Korea and the United Kingdom, which boast around 15% online grocery shopping. Rather than placing online orders, Americans are making more than one trip to the store weekly.

“We've been early adopters in this country in almost every other retail category,” said Bain & Co. partner Stephen Caine. “We know online grocery will explode at some point.”

Supermarkets that offer delivery and companies like FreshDirect and Instacart are struggling with how to get shoppers to order online. “If one retailer is doing it, the others need to offer it,” said Stewart Samuel, program director at IGD. “It does have the potential to bring in new customers to your business. ... Retailers wouldn't be expanding [grocery delivery] at this pace if customers weren't responding.”

For now, too many shoppers would rather see and personally handle foods like produce or meat before purchase, so online grocery shopping might not take off as quickly as anticipated. However, Bain & Co. did predict that online shopping and delivery will soon increase, as more stores make that a viable option for customers.