Online delivery charges full speed ahead as retailers fight to keep up in the age of disruption.
It has been a year since Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods, an announcement that initially sent shockwaves through the food and grocery retail industry and eventually hastened other national grocery chains’ plans for online delivery and pickup services.
The focus and incentives for grocery shopping online also accelerated consumers’ adoption of online grocery shopping, reported The NPD Group, a global information company.
In early 2017 NPD reported that 6% of U.S. consumers shopped online for groceries and now up to 16%, or over 52 million people, shop online, using either delivery or click-and-collect.
The convenience of online grocery shopping has trumped some of the concerns consumers previously had about shopping online for groceries, such as higher costs or fees or waiting for delivery. And, like shopping online for other consumer goods, online grocery shoppers take an omnichannel approach and still shop at brick-and-mortar grocers.
Amazon Prime members, men, and young adults and those who find grocery shopping a necessary evil were among the first groups to shop for their groceries online. However, the growth in click-and-collect and speedy delivery options launched by the major grocery chains this year have expanded the appeal of online shopping to the broader population.
“This past year has been a game of one upmanship among the major grocery chains,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We went from two-day delivery, to one-day, to same-day, to two-hour delivery; with the speed of delivery being defined in superlatives, like fast to ultra-fast. It’s been a fascinating year and the best part about it is that in the end, consumers are the winners of the game.”