More US Households Buying Groceries via Digital Channels - eMarketer

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More US Households Buying Groceries via Digital Channels

The desire to physically shop for produce keeps US digital buyers from shopping online more often

April 7, 2016

Digital grocery shopping in the US appears here to stay—21% of US households purchased groceries digitally in 2015, compared to just 11% in 2013, according to research from Brick Meets Click. But while digital grocery shopping is on the rise, US households still have their reservations about buying groceries online.

US Households that Have Purchased Groceries Digitally, 2013 & 2015 (% of respondents)

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of US grocery buyers who have made a digital grocery purchase at least 90 days ago—and intend to buy again in the next 90 days—say that they don’t shop digitally more often because they like to select their own fruits and vegetable. For those who have digitally grocery shopped in the past 90 days but don’t intend to shop that way again, that number rises to 69%.

Echoing the desire to physically select fruits and vegetable, about half of both occasional and former buyers cite the preference to touch, smell and see what they are buying.

But those who are occasional, former or reluctant digital grocery buyers are not afraid of technology: Only 6% of those who haven’t purchased groceries digitally say that the idea of digital buying—in any category—concerns them. Another 6% said they weren’t tech savvy. It seems that the ability to physically handle and select groceries is the main inhibitor to more frequent digital grocery purchases.

Leading Ways in Which US Digital Grocery Buyers Describe Their Most Recent Digital Grocery Shopping Trip, Q4 2015 (% of respondents)

But if there are specific concerns for US buyers, there are also clear reasons why digital shopping can be successful—61% of those surveyed say they use digital grocery shopping to buy certain products that they can’t easily find in stores.

A July 2015 report by IGD forecast that US digital grocery sales would come in at $7 billion in 2015 and eventually climb to $18 billion in 2020.

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