Online Grocery Is For More Than Just Toilet Paper

The Lempert Report
November 04, 2016

A new survey finds surprising results for online food purchases.

An online survey conducted by The Harris Poll found almost 50% of Americans consider a food product  “a good fit for online shopping” if it has a long shelf-life, is non-perishable or if it is difficult to find in stores.

We have realized that for a long time – no surprise.  What is a surprise is that Harris found that 16% of respondents bought fresh fruits and vegetables online in the previous six months, which is the same percent who bought dry packaged goods online. 

Only slightly fewer – 15% – said they bought dairy, including milk, cheese or yogurt, and 15% said they bought meat and seafood as reported by Food Navigator

The study surmounts that the existing adage that consumers won’t buy produce online because they can’t see, touch or smell it before they buy it doesn’t hold water and reinforces the belief that consumers are willing to buy produce online at least once and will do it again if they receive high quality products. 

The Harris Poll found 31% of Americans bought food online in the past six months and is more heavily weighted toward young city dwellers as well as those who are more educated. Online shopping is more prevalent among millennials (36% versus 31% of average Americans), college grads (35% versus 26% with a high school education or less) and urban dwellers (38% versus 30% in the suburbs and 25% in rural communities). 

One other aha in the survey is that they found theconvenience of online shopping, along with the wide range of products available is not enough to stop shopping at brick and mortar stores for food, it found only 10% of all Americans say online grocery shopping has replaced some or all of their routine grocery shopping trips.