Why Online Grocery Shoppers Also Buy Massively In-Store – Produce Blue Book

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In recent times, online grocery shopping is gaining a lot of attention. Consumers say they’re looking for quick and convenient options.

But do they go all the way?

As we take a look at the frequency of online shopping in this latest installment from Online Produce Shopping: The Path Forward, a collaboration between Blue Book Services and Category Partners, we uncover some distinct trends.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were reporting convenience and saving time as the main motivators for shopping for products online.


And yet, we still buy heavily in stores, especially for fresh products. However, we see a distinct change in buying behavior in the form of frequency when comparing online and in-store.

Data from the Category Partners survey found that consumers shop more frequently than online, +11 points for fruit and +17 points for vegetables purchased at least once a month.

In other words, of the 42 percent who said they buy fresh produce online, most – 8 in 10 fruit and vegetable shoppers – said they choose to shop at least once a month. This compares to monthly in-store purchases at 95 percent for fruit and 97 percent for vegetables.

The disparity jumps dramatically when consumers are asked what percentage buy fruits or vegetables at least once a week. For online purchases, these figures drop to 58% and 48% respectively for weekly purchases. In stores, 88% of fruit consumers and 80% of vegetable consumers buy weekly.

Compared to in-store purchases, these are rookie numbers.

If consumers want to save time and enjoy the convenience of online shopping, why this contradiction?

“These frequency figures, coupled with the time savings and convenience offered online, seemed to be controversial at the start of our analysis. But as we delved into the data, we noticed a third element that explained the apparent contradiction. Said Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners. He went on to say, “Online shopping tends to be more planned or list driven. As a result, consumers have reported that they buy more or stock up when shopping online. So while consumers say they are in-store more frequently, their responses suggest that it is more often a smaller in-and-out shopping behavior.

This certainly appears to be the case in certain categories where impulse selling has been historically significant. While buying a single bag is still the norm for most buyers, it is interesting to note that shopping for cherries in multiple units is particularly reflected in online cherry buyers.

“Whether it’s to freeze them for later or to enjoy them in the moment, it seems that thoughtful purchases of cherries tend to be more dollar sales. Our survey showed that forty percent (40%) of online shoppers buy multiple bags, almost 4 times more than in-store shoppers, ”said James Michael, vice president of marketing for Northwest Cherry Growers and co-sponsor of study. “Interestingly, we noticed that online cherry shoppers were also twice as likely to be weekly shoppers. Perhaps this is a factor that the previous purchase kept them “on the list”, so to speak, so that the risk of being overlooked when purchasing in person is reduced.

The difference between men’s and women’s shopping habits in-store and online was also noticeable.

Sixty-four percent of men bought fruit online at least once a week, compared to 53 percent of women, and 90 percent of men bought fruit in-store at least once a week, compared to 85 percent of women .

The study did not specifically seek to find out why men report shopping more frequently than women. With that in mind, Category Partners reported that 59% of men frequently or always buy a product online that they didn’t intend to buy. Thirty-seven percent of women said they did the same. The numbers of in-store pulses between males and females are statistically equal. And while they’re neither conclusive nor definitive, these impulse numbers suggest that men may be making more frequent impulse purchases to pick up those “one or two items I forgot.”

So what now? How can retailers and marketers work together to use this information to drive more sales?

“Retailer communications that highlight time savings, emphasize / optimize delivery speed (still on time for dinner tonight) and reduced delivery charges or pickup charges for small orders may be ways to induce a greater frequency of online shopping, ”said Barnes. “Decades ago, retailers realized that it was helpful to have a limited number of items at express checkout. Today, self-service checkouts are methods of reducing manpower while allowing consumers to feel more in control of their in-store experience and contribute to a real or imagined improvement in speed. at the register. There may be a curbside pickup equivalent to the express lane that retailers can develop, which can result in the frequency of purchasing a limited assortment of items at high frequency.

“I have been an avid user of online shopping services. Based on my order history and the average time to fill my average in-store cart, my online retail service reports a running tally of the time I have saved through using their business. Seeing the results in black and white helps me quantify and feel the value – the time I can spend with my family or other tasks – and keep me coming back for more. he concluded.


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