Study: Online groceries are shifting from necessity to convenience

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As many consumers become less concerned about the pandemic, reliance on online grocery services is expected to ease, according to category growth design firm ChaseDesign’s analysis.

According to the ChaseDesign Online Shopper Survey, released this week, the percentage of shoppers who rely on home delivery for groceries bought online is set to fall by almost 25% in the near future. Likewise, the number of shoppers using buy online pickup-in-store (BOPIS) services “constantly” has fallen by a third — from 45% to 32% — in the past year and will continue to decline in 2022-store shopping remains the dominant channel for purchasing consumer goods and is projected to continue growing in 2023, according to Syracuse, NY-based ChaseDesign.

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The study, conducted via ChaseDesign’s proprietary mPulse research platform, surveyed 1,000 consumers ages 25 to 54 online in June. Respondents were screened to determine whether they were the primary or secondary purchaser of groceries in their household.

The easing of pandemic restrictions appears to be turning online shopping from a necessity into a convenience — and at a premium, the study shows. For example, home delivery — a linchpin of many grocery shoppers’ shopping routines during the pandemic — is now struggling with issues related to the value delivered by the service, which ChaseDesign says may be accelerated by high grocery price inflation. The survey found that the number of people who said they “always” use home delivery when buying groceries fell from 31% in 2021 to 16% in 2022.

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The main reason: Most consumers said they would rather shop for groceries in a physical store than online.

“This is caused by a lack of confidence that retailers will select and deliver exactly what the customer wants,” said Joe Lampertius, president of ChaseDesign. “Our survey shows that 33% of shoppers have issues with the quality of the products they select, and a slightly lower percentage are concerned about availability through the digital platform.”

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Of those surveyed, 32.3% said they now buy groceries online for in-store or curbside pickup and/or delivery “all the time”, compared to 50.2% who do so “sometimes” and 17.5% using these services. hardly ever.”

When asked about using in-store pickup “once the pandemic is over”, 32% of consumers said they plan to buy groceries through the service “occasionally”, with 15.2% saying it “rarely” and 5 .4% plan. to say “never”. For curbside service, the percentages were virtually the same. And for home delivery, 27.9% expect to use the service occasionally, 14.5% rarely and 12.3% never.

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Post-pandemic, 45.3% want groceries always (16.8%) or most of the time (28.5%) delivered, versus 44.2% for curbside pickup (17.2% always and 27% most) and 47 .4% for in-store pickup (18.5% always and 28.9% most of the time).

The top reasons consumers cited for using online grocery pickup and/or delivery were convenience, safety/cleanliness, time savings, ease of product return, need and “laziness,” ChaseDesign reported. For in-store and curbside pickup, customers also cited avoiding shipping charges or fees as a factor in choosing the click-and-collect service.

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On the other hand, the top reasons given by online grocery users for stopping using the pickup service were “I prefer to shop in a physical store”, “I like to collect items myself”, “Cost is too high” and “Dissatisfied with it”. . -of-stocks and/or replacement selection.” They also expressed dissatisfaction with the pickup experience and the products selected and, particularly for curbside service, that the wait time was too long.

An overwhelming number of online grocery shoppers who said they would stop home delivery post-pandemic cited “excessive delivery charges” as the reason, followed by difficulties managing their schedule around a delivery, the inability to order last-minute items add wrong or missing products, worry about stolen packages and poor quality of selected products. Other reasons included damaged products and difficulty applying coupons, discounts, or gift cards to those orders.

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Not surprisingly, fresh groceries and perishables were the top product categories surveyed consumers said they avoid buying online, led by meat and seafood, produce, dairy, frozen foods, deli, baked goods and flowers. ChaseDesign noted that these items are primarily products where “careful selection is most important” to buyers.

“Our survey highlights several opportunities for retailers trying to take advantage of the new shopping environment,” said Lampertius. “For example, in 2022 compared to the previous year, 10% more curbside pickup shoppers complained about wasting time in their cars waiting for their order. If retailers leverage that captivity time, on average, five to 10 minutes with some shopper retention and improved impulse merchandising strategies, brands and retailers will be rewarded with more loyal customers and additional purchases.”

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To that end, ChaseDesign’s research found a $50 million “trade gap” between in-store pickup and curbside pickup. Among shoppers who shop online and pick up their groceries in-store, 42% buy additional items, compared to 32% of curbside shoppers.

“We’ve been working to improve curbside pickup for several leading customers,” Lampertius added. “A great example is the conceptual work we did for Planters nuts, which leverages the digital integration of last-minute add-ons into the retailer’s app while providing impulse merchandising units at the point of pickup to create new opportunities for to create impulse sales.”

On the retail side, consumers named Walmart, Target and Kroger as the top in-store and curbside groceries, with Costco, Amazon, Whole Foods Market, Sam’s Club, Albertsons, Walgreens, CVS, Publix and Meijer also being named. Walmart and Amazon led by far in consumer perceptions of the online grocery delivery experience, followed by Target, Kroger, Whole Foods, Costco, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, CVS and Albertsons in the top 10.

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