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Study: Grocery shoppers active online, but ordering not at top of the list

Shoppers engage digitally with grocers in lots of ways, from checking circulars to getting recipes. Ordering groceries, however, is not the most popular activity.

That’s according to a new study from The Retail Feedback Group, which found that 12% of overall respondents order groceries online for pickup or delivery. However, participation varies demographically. There is greater adoption in urban areas (18%) compared to suburbs (11%) and smaller towns/rural areas (7%).

Generationally, millennials show higher online grocery participation (18%) than Gen X (14%) and Boomers (6%). Interestingly, consumers with annual income over $100,000 (15%) and under $50,000 (13%) are more likely than consumers with annual income between $50,000 and $100,000 (9%).

In addition, consumers with a household size of three or more (17%) and one (12%) order groceries online more than consumers with two household members (8%).

The “2019 U.S. Supermarket Digital & Social Engagement Study” of 1,200 adult U.S. consumers, found that 63% of respondents digitally interact with their primary grocery store. Digital grocery shopping activities include:

• Check digital circular (55%)
• Build grocery lists (47%)
• Research special promotions (44%)
• Get recipes (25%)
• Receive nutritional advice (11%)
• Read blogs (9%)

The survey also tracked how consumers utilize social media. While 85% of respondents regularly follow one or more social media sites, only 30% are social friends/followers of their primary grocery store. Leading social networks used by respondents are Facebook (85%), YouTube (58%), Instagram (43%), Pinterest (33%), and Twitter (31%).

Social media can have an impact on grocery shopper behavior. Based on social network recommendations, 42% of respondents, will make a recipe or meal, 34% will purchase a new food item, 26% will shop a new store, and 13% will stop shopping a particular store.

In addition, 41% of respondents have used social media to praise a good experience in a supermarket or food store in the past year, while 22% have socially complained about a poor experience. Overall, only 58% of all social grocery commenters said they received a satisfactory or empathetic response from the company.

When it comes to receiving notifications of nightly dinner specials, grocery shoppers prefer tried-and-true communications technologies. Sixty-three percent of respondents are very/somewhat likely sign up for email messages with nightly dinner specials from their primary grocery store, compared to only 44% for social media messages and 43% for text alerts.
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