Spotlight On Buying Groceries Online: It's Amazon Vs. Walmart

Supported largely by consumers ages 25-34, Amazon and Walmart rule the roost when it comes to purchasing groceries online. But according to a recent survey, the vast majority of Americans still prefer to buy groceries in-store and that doesn’t seem likely to change significantly in the near future.

Among survey respondents, just 28% purchased groceries online in the last 30 days, 37% of them in the 25-34 cohort. Just 13% of adults 65 years and older did so. Among parents with at least one child under the age of 25 in the household, 37% of purchase groceries online at least once a month.

Of the 28% that purchased in the last 30 days, 37% used Amazon and 36% Walmart. Online purchases from Peapod (Stop and Shop) and Safeway both came in at 12% of survey respondents. Delivery services Instacart and ClickList have much lower customer bases, with only 14% and 7% of shoppers, respectively, using them for a recent purchase.  



Among food categories, beverages are most likely be included in online grocery orders, with 62% of shoppers regularly purchasing them. Dry goods such as cereals and baking ingredients come in second at 58%, followed by canned/jarred goods (49%). Expanding to non-food items, paper goods and personal care products are regularly included in more than half of online grocery orders (60% and 59%, respectively).

Only 19% of respondents made an online purchase from Whole Foods within the last 60 days, the majority using Amazon versus 2% that used Instacart. Thirty-four percent of the 18-24 age cohort made an online purchase from Whole Foods through Amazon within the last 60 days. 

The two main reasons for regularly purchasing groceries online are to save time (59%) and for the convenience of not having to shop in the grocery store (57%). Those between the ages of 35 and 44 are the most likely to be motivated by saving time, with 71% selecting it as a contributing factor for online grocery shopping. 

The survey sample consisted of 1,000 adults nationally balanced by age, gender and region surveyed by kNOW, an on-demand product from global survey provider Critical Mix.

The study suggests that companies competing with online retail giants in the grocery space may not have much to worry about. Among the 72% of respondents that do not regularly grocery shop online, 67% of them prefer going to the grocery store to be able to pick their own items in person. Only 27% are deterred by concerns over proper food handling/safety of perishable items. 

Looking ahead, almost half of respondents plan to increase their online grocery purchases over the next three years. Converting non-online grocery shoppers could prove difficult, however, as only 36% are expecting to increase their online grocery shopping. Free grocery delivery would be the best incentive for both those that do not regularly grocery shop online to start doing so, as well as to increase online grocery shopping occasions for those that already purchase groceries online at least once a month (44%).

Go here for a visual look at the stats.

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