As online grocery shopping habits continue to evolve, the latest benchmarking study from MikMak reveals that the people most likely to respond to food advertisements are moving faster than ever.
And their habits -- including a fondness for sliced cheese, checking out on Thursday afternoons and finding inspiration on Pinterest -- offer plenty of opportunities for brands.
Walmart is the retailer driving the most in-market traffic for grocery brands, with a 41.2% share of purchase-intent clicks among the top five retailers. It is followed by Target at 22.1%, and Amazon at 18.6%. Instacart accounts for 11.9% of shoppers, and Kroger comes next at 6.1%.
Social media, which drives product discovery, is becoming increasingly important. This year, YouTube has risen to the top, with a purchase-intent rate of 5.2%. Pinterest comes next, with a rate of 4.2%, followed by Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
MikMak works with some 800 of the biggest brands, following web traffic of billions of shoppers worldwide. Rachel Tipograph, founder and chief executive officer of the research company, says data tells powerful trend stories.
For example, it first identified a surge in beauty products sold through grocery channels in the first quarter of 2020. "Now it's one of the top performing categories at Target and Walmart."
In the first half of last year, its data showed Walmart moving into the No. 1 spot as the preferred retailer in the U.S. "Fast forward to Black Friday of this past year, when Walmart beat Amazon, then again to Amazon's most recent quarterly earnings call, with the CEO saying, 'We have to figure out how to make strides in grocery,'" she says. “In grocery, Walmart is winning.”
By focusing on purchase intent in addition to actual sales, she says, the research offers a broader lens than search-driven shopping, where the customer goes to a retail site, loads up a basket and checks out. "You go there and know exactly what you're looking to buy," she says.
Discovery, on the other hand, happens almost entirely outside retail sites. "It happens primarily on social, and Instagram has become the world's biggest mall. You go there to be inspired, including exploring recipes and food trends."
With regard to media channels, she thinks brands are too focused on TikTok -- which can be a powerful conversion tool -- and not enough on the power of both YouTube and Pinterest. "Both are powerful conversion tools."
Sliced cheese, seasonal snack mixes and single-serve coffee are among the most commonly ordered items. Herbal tea, peanut butter, chocolate, frozen veggie burgers, and cereal also fill up carts.
"That creates partnership opportunities. How do you co-bundle with another item in the cart to drive conversion for your category?"
The timing of purchases is also important. The peak checkout moment is 1 PM ET on Thursdays. "So folks essentially spend a good portion of the early week building their basket and then checking out just in time for the weekend."
Knowing that can help brands decide when to give consumers an extra push.