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Report Shows U.S. Consumers Embrace a Mix of Online and In-Store Grocery Shopping Habits

Consumer study underscores the importance of brand and retailer focus on the omnichannel shopper experience

Last month Acosta previewed results of its Online Grocery Landscape Report, a new shopper insights study on the attitudes and preferences surrounding online grocery shopping habits. Conducted this summer through Acosta’s proprietary Shopper Community, the research found that nearly 60% of those of those buying online groceries started in the past two years, and nearly one in five online grocery shoppers intend to do more of their shopping online in the next year.

The study shows that consumer grocery shopping behavior continues to evolve alongside the ongoing acceleration of digital commerce and innovation in traditional retail.

“More than half of American households are buying groceries online at least occasionally, compelling the need for retailers to provide more personalized and enhanced experiences around value, convenience, and food discovery in order to increase their share of omnichannel shoppers,” said John Carroll, Chief Growth Officer at Acosta. “Since most online grocery consumers shop the same retailers online and in-store, the brands and retailers that offer strong online and in-store shopping solutions are best positioned to win by nurturing even deeper consumer loyalty. And as wallets tighten due to inflation and shoppers do more pre-shop planning online, an omnichannel focus becomes even more critical.”

Online Grocery Landscape Report Key Findings 

Insights from Acosta’s proprietary Shopper Community illustrate the new normal in the online grocery space along with evolving expectations and opportunities in the omnichannel marketplace.

The New Normal

  • Consistent with levels observed in fall 2021, half of U.S. shoppers are at least occasionally purchasing grocery items online.
  • More than half (57%) of online grocery shoppers say they stick with the retailers they shop in-store, thus providing omnichannel-focused retailers with a big advantage in building loyalty with consumers.
  • A significant majority of online pickup shoppers (7 in 10) go into the store when picking up an order, mainly to grab a forgotten item or to pick out something personally. This shopping behavior presents an opportunity to re-engage the shopper in-store.

Evolving Expectations

  • Top online grocery retailers are getting high marks for shopper satisfaction, but shoppers still desire better ease of finding deals, product availability, and reasonable delivery/pickup fees.
  • Consumers are still experimenting and determining their preferred delivery fulfillment options, with only 57% using a single mode. Millennials are utilizing at-home delivery at nearly twice the rate of Baby Boomers.
  • Nearly one-third of online grocery shoppers use subscriptions, with pet needs and coffee/tea at the top of the list.

Shaping the Future

  • While 46% of shoppers utilize retailer websites to place orders, there is slow adoption to retailer apps with more than a quarter of respondents declaring that they currently do not use retailer apps.
  • Digital coupons are embraced by 80% of online shoppers, with younger shoppers more likely to look for them while they shop.
  • The balance between online and brick-and-mortar continues to evolve, with more online grocery shoppers preferring the in-store experience for discount opportunities and new product discovery.

Acosta conducted the research in June of 2022 through its proprietary Shopper Community with input from more than 750 U.S. online grocery shoppers across a range of age groups, behaviors, and preferences.

Acosta @ Groceryshop 2022

Groceryshop 2022 in Las Vegas was focused on the rise of eCommerce and the changing consumer behavior reshaping the industry. With a firm grasp on the consumer mindset from a CPG and retailer perspective, Acosta is a leading provider of market insight on omnichannel and digital commerce solutions.

Acosta’s digital commerce solutions include e-commerce insights and analytics, e-account management and retailer.com strategy, demand generation and retail media, full-service Amazon growth, digital shelf monitoring and optimization, and content syndication and management services.

For more information go to acosta.com.

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