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Mass merchandisers top list of grocery pickup channels most frequently shopped

Fifty-five percent of shoppers buying groceries online at least some of the time.

When it comes to grocery online orders, most shoppers prefer in-store pickup.

Grocery shoppers like both the in-store experience and the convenience of online shopping and pickup.

For grocery pickup shoppers, 80% go into the store when picking up their order, either because they forgot to purchase an item online or they prefer to personally select specific items, according to a study by Acosta Group. This is up 10% from last year, reflecting consumers' growing desire to have the in-store experience as well as the convenience of online shopping and pickup, the report said. 

Mass merchandisers are the physical  grocery pickup channel most frequently (68%) shopped, followed by grocery (55%) and club (33%).

“We've seen that post-pandemic, consumers have returned to in-store shopping, and they want a seamless omnichannel experience where all items online are available at the same price as in store, and all items in store are available for pickup and delivery," said  Kathy Risch, senior VP, consumer insights and trends, Acosta Group.

The study reflects a slight uptick in online grocery shopping over last year, with 55% of shoppers buying groceries online at least some of the time. The upward trend is driven by more consumers who are shopping online regularly but still shopping mostly in-store., according to Acosta.

As expected, convenience is highly valued when it comes to pickup and delivery fulfillment of online orders.  Younger online grocery shoppers are heavy users of both in-store pickup and delivery and use delivery services at twice the rate of baby-boomers.  

The favored delivery providers are Instacart and Walmart+, followed by Prime, DoorDash and Uber Eats, with high satisfaction levels for these services.

Delivery shoppers often want the items fast;" said Risch. “Thierty-eight percent are using delivery options of three hours or less, and men are far more willing to pay a higher fee for speed." 

For shoppers with limited flexibility who live in urban areas, have children, or work outside the home, the delivery timeframe window is critical, the study found.

Other findings from the study are below.

•When it comes to placing an order, 49% of online shoppers are starting at a retailer's website or app with their lists, and 85% (90% of higher income shoppers) are using digital coupons.

•Three in four Gen Z and millennials are placing small orders for a single meal or recipe, reflecting a familiarity and comfort with the use and cost of delivery services.  

•Online grocery shoppers, especially millennials, are highly likely to purchase and try new items and are very likely to buy on impulse.

Shopper research for the study was conducted July 7-13, 2023, with 1,308 U.S. primary online grocery shoppers, members of Acosta’s proprietary Shopper Community, which is comprised of over 40,000 demographically diverse shoppers across the U.S. and is the company's proprietary community for survey engagement.  

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