Expert views on retail strategy, talent management and leadership development
GROWING YOUR BIZ
While online ordering appears regularly across the supermarket industry as a hot topic, the reality is that today it remains in the early stages. Some of the latest research illustrates the challenge of accepting any single number as a measurement of adoption, and it provides retailers with a number of considerations to contemplate about engaging shoppers in
this growing space.
In our ;;;; U.S. Supermarket Digital & Social
Engagement Study, ;, ;;; shoppers were asked if they
order groceries online for pickup or delivery. In total,
;;; indicated that they do so. However, this number is
Online Food Shopping:
Is Everyone Doing It?
A closer look at the adoption rates of grocery
e-commerce across generations, household
sizes and income levels. By Brian Numainville
Brian Numainville is a
principal with the Retail
Reach him at bn@
deceptive in that there are many ways to segment the
;ndings, which illustrate di;erent levels of adoption.
First, let’s look at generational di;erences. Perhaps
not surprisingly, just ;; of baby boomers indicated
they are ordering online, compared to ;;; of Gen
X shoppers and ;;; of millennials. So age indeed
has a bearing on adoption. This makes sense,
given the proclivity of younger generations
to engage in online shopping in greater
numbers due to comfort with and use
of technology. However, there is also a
smaller market for boomer shoppers who
may be homebound and need to have food
delivered. This may be, in part, the reason fresh
department purchases showed growth in the online
shopping space in some of our recent research. Older
shoppers are going to “shop the store” online, not just
focus on certain categories, out of necessity.
Next, consider market size. About ;; of smaller-town or rural market shoppers indicated they order
online. Shoppers in suburban markets came in at ;;;,
while urban areas and large cities registered at ;;;.
These results mirror the ;ndings of local consumer
research I have conducted in markets of various size
around the country.
Larger markets have many more options for online
ordering, while rural and smaller markets may have
only one or two o;erings. Plus, the frenetic pace of
urban life, including factors such as longer commuting
times, congested roads and time-starved shoppers, may
make online shopping more appealing ;and thus more
highly adopted; in an urban setting as compared to
suburban and rural markets.
While the ;ndings when considering generational
di;erences and market size make intuitive sense,
digging into household income and household size
reveals some interesting ;ndings.
Higher-income shoppers ;more than ;;;;,;;;;
show the highest adoption, at ;;;, which matches some
of the traditional thought processes assuming higher-income shoppers may be more likely to shop online.
Interestingly, however, is that shoppers with income
of less than ;;;,;;; show higher adoption ;;;;; than
households with an income of ;;;,;;;-;;;;,;;;
;;;;. I would speculate that this may be due to the large
push that Walmart has made in the online ordering
space in the past year or so, making it a much more
visible and viable option for their customer base, thus
driving up use, not only for its own stores but also for
other retailers who o;er online ordering.
The study also examined household size. Larger
households ;three or more people; had the largest
adoption at ;;;, while two-person households had the