Grocery stores favoring physical stores
What pandemic? That’s a question you might ask when analyzing responses to what consumers expect from their grocery shopping experiences, a PYMNTS and ACI Worldwide collaboration.
According to the new Census Balanced Survey of more than 2,300 U.S. consumers, the majority of grocery shopping still happens in grocery stores, not online.
According to the study, “Despite the digital shift that has occurred over the past 18 months, shopping in physical grocery stores remains prevalent as 94% report buying in stores at least part of the time. Consumers are almost twice as likely to have switched to digital channels to purchase retail products online than they are for grocery items.
When it comes to the digital shift in grocery shopping, on the other hand, it’s very real, with researchers finding that 34% of consumers “buy at least some of their groceries online, and the share climbs to 57%. among millennials ”. Among these cohorts, curbside pickup “is almost as popular a digital channel as grocery delivery, as nearly 20% each use it.”
It gets even more interesting as we follow how the buying behaviors of digital first grocery customers align with preferred payment methods.
More motivated by mobility and digital ease, the researchers found that 55% of those who buy groceries online “make their purchases through mobile devices, and this result corresponds to the widespread use of payment methods. Thirty-one percent of online grocery shoppers use PayPal, while 22 percent use other mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.
See: What consumers expect from their grocery shopping experiences
The digital shift in the grocery sector remains fresh
A burning question since the digital shift began in earnest in 2020 is whether it will last.
What consumers expect from their grocery shopping experiences provides answers, noting that “the pandemic has been a catalyst for the long-term adoption of new habits,” and adding: “More than three-quarters of those who do. have increased their use of digital grocery channels said they have done so because digital channels provide an easier and more convenient way to shop. Avoiding COVID-19 was a less common motivation, cited by 59% of buyers. “
Compare that to October 2020, when 64% of grocery shoppers cited fears of the virus.
Along with this change comes other changes, such as shopping once ordered.
“Digital technology has opened up several channels for grocery shopping that have appealed to consumers,” according to the new study. “Home delivery is the most common and preferred channel, but curbside pickup is not far behind: 20% use it and 7% prefer it. Interestingly, the usage and preference for aggregators – services that offer delivery services from multiple stores – is considerably lower than other channels. These results suggest that grocery shoppers have an affinity for their favorite stores and want to maintain those connections when using digital channels, whether through drop-shipping or curbside pickup. “
Read: What consumers expect from their grocery shopping experiences
While data shows consumers have preferred stores and payment methods, competing retailers can do more to take advantage of trends as the change becomes permanent.
For example, the study states, “Of those who purchased non-food items at their favorite grocery stores, 27% said these items made them go more often in the past 18 months. The effect is particularly strong for millennials: 49% believe that non-food offerings motivated them to take more trips.
However, 56% of consumers said they would forgo their favorite stores “if they could get non-food products and services.” One-third would be “somewhat” likely to try new stores in this scenario, and 23% would be “very” or “extremely” likely to do so. “
Likewise, the payment options are almost as good as the convenience, at least for the digerati.
“The variety and flexibility of payments at checkout are still an important part of online commerce, but they are especially crucial for mobile users, who tend to favor simple and transparent options like mobile wallets,” according to the report. Consumers expect their grocery shopping experiences, with online credit card usage pegging just north of 65% and debit usage at around 57%.
As for other traditional methods, 31% use PayPal, 17% use Apple Pay and 13% use Google Pay, the researchers found, adding that EBT cards are also used by 12% online, “about the same proportion of those who claim to use them in the store. “
Get the report: What consumers expect from their grocery shopping experiences