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Online grocery shopping on the rise: Survey

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 13-Feb-2012

Shoppers increasingly are looking to the internet for better deals on foods and beverages, according to a new survey from the Integer group and M/A/R/C Research.

The market researchers said in the latest edition of The Checkout that consumers aged 45 to 49 are most likely to shop for food and beverage products online, with 29% grocery shopping via the internet, compared to 21% overall. The Checkout is an ongoing shopper behavior survey, which asks consumers about their shopping habits and economic outlook.

Last year, the survey found that 73% of online shoppers were not shopping more, just differently – but this year it found an increase in shopping in general.

Executive vice president of M/A/R/C Research Randy Wahl said: "Shoppers across all demographic groups aren't just becoming smarter, they are now making the time to find the best deal."

The report said consumer confidence had grown compared to last year, and manufacturers should engage with consumers looking to the internet for flexibility and lower prices.

“As older generations with more disposable income become more internet savvy, they are, in turn, leaning toward eCommerce as a quick way to obtain the brands they know and trust at the lowest price,” it said.

“In addition, the busier our lives get, the more the average American will turn toward the flexibility an eCommerce experience offers. Brands need to find ways to build off this flexibility and engage their shopper online by delivering the information, the price comparisons, the couponing opportunities, and the ability to find the right retailer.”

All age groups have increased online shopping, the report found, but Boomers are the largest group of internet shoppers. For the past two years, the Checkout report has suggested that product expiration dates and shipping costs are the biggest barriers to online grocery shopping for other age groups.

Senior vice president at Integer Craig Elston said: "Grocery shopping online is a concept most shoppers have yet to adopt, which means there are conventions ingrained in their shopping behavior that must be disrupted. Manufacturers and e-tailers have the most to gain if they can help shoppers get over their purchase barriers."

The report added that free shipping was beginning to emerge, easing a major barrier to online shopping.

“To capture and continue this momentum, brands and retailers are going to have to work together more closely to make free shipping economically viable for both parties,” it said.

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