To better understand the complex nature of online
grocery shopping and the choices ahead, Mercatus
analyzed grocery shoppers’ opinions and preferences
based on over 50,000 U.S. grocery shopper surveys.
An additional survey of over 2,000 U.S. consumers
rounded out our insights.
Our findings make the case for strategic, deliberate
adoption of eCommerce as well as caution against
pitfalls in the new era of digital grocery.
QUANTIFYING THE OPPORTUNITY
Findings of the Mercatus 2018 Shopper Surveys discovered that on average, 26% of regional
grocery shoppers consider themselves online grocery
shoppers, and 52% claim to have done at least some
online grocery shopping in the past month. Online
is a supplement to—not a replacement for—
Even those shoppers who claim not to grocery shop
online still do purchase certain items online that could
be bought in a grocery store, such as beauty products
and pet supplies. The danger for grocers sitting out
the eCommerce trend is that their customers’ basket
size and mix might be slowly shrinking incrementally
as shoppers turn to online offerings instead. At some
point, shoppers reach a tipping point when they realize
they can greatly expand their online purchases in the
interest of value and convenience.
The market for online grocery appears to be at an
inflection point, as most online grocery shoppers are
recent entrants. 70% of shoppers we surveyed said
they have been doing so for less than two years, and
45% have just started within this past year.
The reality is that online grocery sales are growing by
75% year- over-year.1 The primary driver behind this
surge is click-and-collect, which increased from 18%
in 2016 to 48% of all online grocery sales in 2018.2
To quantify the rewards of diving into the eCommerce
journey, Mercatus commissioned independent
research from EKN, a leading market intelligence
firm. The EKN case study found that stores that went
from no eCommerce to a fully integrated online store
experienced the most dramatic impact. The study
found these stores experienced:
• A 10.3% increase in overall weekly shopping revenue
• A noticeable shift in shopping patterns; specifically,
stores saw a spend-per-trip decline (< by 5%)
which was then offset by an increase in trip
These results prove that there is a tangible effort-reward dynamic when it comes to eCommerce
adoption. Online offers and convenience drove new
shopping trips that grew both top-line revenue and
Grocery shopping habits change slowly—but
make no mistake, they are indeed shifting.
Guiding these changes are considerable
investments in digital grocery offerings.
Successful regional grocers are paying close
attention to shoppers’ needs in order to
navigate what lies in the immediate road ahead.
1. State of Grocery. (2018). Retrieved from https://1010data.com/
2. Hallett, L. (2018, March 10). How much are consumers really spending online? Retrieved from https://retailleader.com/how-much-are-consumers-really-spending-online
Cleaning or household supplies
Baby products such as diapers
Canned goods or dry packaged food
Fresh produce such as fruit or vegetables
Dairy or eggs
Meat, poultry or fish
Ready to consume food items/
Beverage items that are heavy to carry
such as a case of soda, water, etc.
Source: Mercatus US Consumer Poll
ONLINE PURCHASES MADE IN THE PAST THREE
MONTHS: ONLINE VS. IN-STORE ONLY SHOPPERS