1 in 2 Youth Say They’ve Shopped Online for Groceries in the Past Year

August 2, 2018

1 in 3 American adults reports having shopped for groceries online in the past year, according to a survey of 1,000 US adults from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). The trend towards online grocery shopping is being driven by… surprise: youth. Indeed, half of Millennials (20-36) and almost half (47%) of Gen Z consumers surveyed in June by ADI said they’d shopped for groceries online in the prior year.

These figures largely line up with separate research data. Earlier this year, IRI revealed that 55% of Millennials planned to shop online for groceries this year, as did 41% of adults overall. All told, more than one-quarter (28%) of adults surveyed by IRI reported buying grocery items online.

They may not be shopping with too much regularity, though. Last year Gallup found that 15% of 18-29-year-olds shopped online for groceries on at least a monthly basis, compared to 9% of all adults surveyed.

As ADI notes, “the US online grocery market is still in its very early stages.” That certainly seems to be the case when comparing the US results to an accompanying survey conducted in the UK. That research found that fully 52% of UK adults had shopped online for groceries in the past year.

Moreover, whereas US online grocery shoppers were far more likely to have shopped online for basic necessities (41%) than for most groceries (23%), the opposite was true in the UK, where online grocery shoppers were more than twice as likely to say they bought most groceries (40%) than just basic necessities (17%).

Furthermore, there are signs that the e-commerce experience isn’t as advanced in the US. Just 16% of US consumers reported no difficulties in grocery shopping online, compared to 27% in the UK who didn’t face any difficulties. (Speed and a seamless experience might be the top areas for online grocery retailers to focus on, according to other research.)

Something else that might help? Lower prices… ADI’s analysis notes that in the months coming after Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, online grocery prices dropped by 0.3%, compared to an 0.6% increase in the same months a year earlier.

And despite it being early days in the US, it is worth noting that e-commerce is delivering 80% of growth in the US grocery market, per Nielsen. Given the youth skew towards online grocery shopping, one would expect that figure to only rise over time…

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