For Online Grocery Stores, The Future Isn't Quite Here Yet

By Mike Pomranz |

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Though by now few people can resist the convenience of shopping online, when it comes to stocking up on groceries, only 10 percent of American said they use ordering on the web as a replacement for some or all of their regular grocery store trips according to a new survey from Harris Poll. The stat was one of many from the recently released data showing that people’s online grocery habits may be a bit different than we think.

In fact, though a lot of us head to our computers instead of a brick and mortar store to buy stuff, groceries seem to be lagging a bit behind: The poll found that only 31 percent of 2,000 adults surveyed had bought any sort of food product online at all in the previous six months. Even among millennials, only 36 percent said they grabbed groceries online recently. I wonder if that includes using an app?! Millennials love using apps!

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Additionally, the kind of groceries people bought online was also a bit unexpected. As FoodNavigator-USA highlighted, though half of adults considered shelf-stable products “a good fit for online shopping,” when asked about their actual shopping habits, those surveyed didn’t necessarily stick to non-perishable goods. 16 percent of respondents said they bought fresh fruit and vegetables online in the past six months, 15 percent said they had bought dairy products online, and 15 percent had even grabbed meat and seafood via their computers. Compare that to the most popular category for purchases mentioned, which was snacks at 20 percent, and it appears that for those who do their grocery shopping online, fresh foods are about as in play for purchase as anything else. “This suggests that the common belief that consumers won’t buy produce online because they can’t see, touch or smell it before the buy it doesn’t hold water,” FoodNavigator wrote.

Still, though certain types of online grocery shopping may appear to be making inroads, the biggest takeaway seems to be that, for now at least, popping into the store is still the vast majority of people’s preference when it comes to eating at home. That is, assuming people are grocery shopping at all. Maybe everyone is just ordering online delivery from restaurants instead?

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