E-commerce is an ever-important part of the grocery industry, and now more so than ever, according to Chicory’s 2023 “Online Grocery Shopping Report.”
Chicory’s annual report surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to glean the key characteristics and behaviors of online grocery shoppers. Insights range from online order frequency and average basket value to retailer preferences, cart composition and shopping challenges.
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The contextual commerce advertising platform found that 56% of survey respondents said they order groceries online more frequently now than one year ago, and more than 72% had purchased groceries online in the past 90 days. Additionally, online grocery shoppers who spend the most on online grocery orders – more than $201 – place orders the most frequently.
“While online grocery adoption has slowed in recent years, activity is rising. Consumers are more comfortable than ever browsing for deals online, meal planning using digital recipes, and purchasing their full shopping lists in just a few clicks,” said Yuni Sameshima, CEO and co-founder of New York-based Chicory. “CPG and grocery retailers can capitalize on this trend by investing in e-commerce solutions that meet consumers where they are, and in the moments that matter.”
Approximately 74% of respondents said convenience is a top driver of their decision to order groceries online, with price being the second most important factor. Chicory also found that food blogs and recipe sites, along with social media platforms, are the top sources of online meal inspiration. Snack foods are the most popular item added to online shopping carts, while household essentials were the most-purchased item by respondents in the past 90 days.
As far as preferred retailers for online shopping, a majority of respondents chose Walmart as the winner. Amazon Fresh, Aldi, The Kroger Co., and Costco Wholesale rounded out the top five, respectively.
“[S]maller players such as Aldi also fared well, suggesting that a strong digital experience can go a long way with consumers,” the report stated. “This is validated within Chicory’s recipe network data too: In 2022, Walmart garnered the most add-to-carts of the 60+ retailers available in the network, but smaller players that are available to shop via Instacart performed well too.”
While more consumers are frequenting the e-commerce grocery aisle, some challenges remain. Some 47% of respondents pointed to high fees as their biggest challenge with the service, followed by 43% citing lack of control over product selection and 41% saying product availability issues were their biggest concern.
When it comes to ensuring quality items are added to their order, 60% of consumers said they are more likely to choose pre-packaged produce when shopping online. According to Chicory, this represents a huge opportunity for pre-packaged brands, as well as an incentive for brands to invest further in their branding.
Chicory further stressed that consumers are more comfortable than ever browsing for grocery deals online, and are meal planning and purchasing their full shopping lists via e-commerce. “CPG and grocery retailers can capitalize on this trend by investing in e-commerce solutions that meet consumers where they are, and in the moments that matter,” the report concluded.