Online Grocery Shopping Hasn’t yet Caught on among All US Consumers

By May 02, 2013

Not all consumers in the United States are at this moment ready to do their grocery shopping online. But one thing is certain: the majority would like more interaction with their retailer.

Symphony EYC, a Palo Alto, California-based retail and distribution market research and analysis specialist, has just carried out a study among US consumers in order to get a handle on their perception and use of online shopping. The report* points out that 54% of the consumers surveyed agree that one of the benefits of shopping online is that there are ‘No lines/queues or waiting’. In addition, consumers are clearly aware that m-commerce can improve the grocery shopping experience, as 73.2% say they shop online when mobile apps make their shopping easier. In fact the US consumer is now becoming more familiar with digital tools, and is starting to turn into the “Smart Shopper” described in a recent L’Atelier article on the Digitas France survey. Some 69.6% of the consumers surveyed agree that comparing prices across stores is a useful exercise, while 80% say they want the retailer to take their personal dietary or lifestyle preferences – which vary according to age – into account.

Customers want more communication with their retailer

The report reveals that customers wish to have more interaction with their retailers, pointing out that “85.9% would like to be able to request that a retailer carries or stocks a product they don’t currently offer.” Close to half (46.4%) of them say they would consider shopping elsewhere if another retailer allowed them to have a say in which products are stocked. Some 53.4% would like to receive offers in line with their own shopping preferences and 53.9% would like to be recognised by the store as a regular shopper. Retailers would therefore be well advised to make an effort to customise their offers, given that 60% of the consumers polled stated that receiving personalised promotions on their favourite products makes their life easier when buying groceries online.

Feelings about online shopping differ with age

The study found that using grocery delivery and pick-up services has still not become an ingrained habit among US shoppers and fully 68.7% say they still prefer to do their shopping in traditional supermarkets. Nevertheless 20% already prefer to order online and request home delivery, while 10% order online and use the ‘drive in’ pickup service. It appears however that the general trend towards online ordering and using home delivery services tails off with age. The same goes for the influence of social networks on one’s choice of purchases. The younger the consumer, the more influence ‘likes’ and comments from Facebook friends will have.


*Shopper Research 2013, USA, published by Symphony EYC; survey carried out among a

representative sample of 1,001 US individuals aged 18 or over


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