- Walmart and Amazon are way ahead of traditional supermarket chains in terms of their popularity with online grocery shoppers, according to survey data released earlier this week by digital marketing platform Chicory.
- Convenience is the top reason why people purchase groceries through e-commerce channels, while only a fraction of grocery shoppers head online primarily for health or safety reasons, the research found.
- Pantry staples and supplies along with dairy and meat products accounted for more than half of the items in survey respondents' carts, underscoring the importance shoppers place on digital channels as a way to obtain essential goods.
While Chicory's survey found interest in grocery e-commerce is strong across demographic groups, it also showed that a shopper's age plays a key role in determining where they are likely to direct their online business.
Walmart, which has a dominant presence in the physical grocery store space as well as online, was most popular among respondents 45 to 60 years old. Meanwhile, Instacart's draw was strongest among shoppers in the 18-to-29 age group, reflecting the digital shopping platform's appeal to younger consumers in the survey, which fielded responses from 1,017 participants and was conducted Dec. 27.
Overall, more than a third of respondents cited Walmart as the retailer they most frequently use for online grocery orders. Amazon was the top choice for a little more than 20% of the participants, with Instacart and Target each accounting for about 10% of responses.
Kroger was the top-performing traditional grocer in the survey, but was the favorite of fewer than 10% of participants, with banners run by Albertsons and Ahold Delhaize posting an even weaker performance. Perhaps reflecting people's lukewarm enthusiasm for supermarket chains as online grocery suppliers, conventional grocers recorded a nearly 7% decline in online sales during the 12-week period that concluded Sept. 28, according to data released in January by Brick Meets Click.
About 46% of people in the Chicory survey said "convenience and/or time constraints" is the main reason they buy groceries online, followed by "product availability or accessibility," at 19%. Only about 10% said their main motivation was related to "health/safety concerns."
Notably, more than half of the participants in Chicory's research said they shop online for groceries at least weekly, with about 10% saying they place an order more often than that and approximately 30% doing so once a month. Seventy-two percent said they had placed an online grocery order at least once in the past 90 days.
The poll also found that people are adding items to their carts more often than in the past, with the proportion doing so every day at about 10%, up slightly compared with comparable survey data Chicory released in January 2021. By contrast, about 30% of participants in the latest research said they add items to their cart "every few weeks," below the level seen last year.
About half of respondents to the survey said they spend between $50 and $100 when they buy groceries online, with about 60% of people in that group indicating they place an online grocery purchase at least once a week. Meanwhile, 35% of survey participants said they spend more than $100 per order, an increase of nearly 16 percentage points compared with survey results from 2021.