Online grocery shopping still small, but growing rapidly, says Nielsen

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Grocery shopping Marketing Social network service Mobile phone Nielsen

Online grocery shopping still small, but growing rapidly, says Nielsen
Global consumers’ intent to buy foods and beverages online has grown 44% in two years, with over a quarter (26%) planning to buy online in the next three to six months, according to a new survey from market research organization Nielsen.

Nielsen polled 28,000 consumers in 56 countries in its online survey.

It found that while online grocery shopping may not have entered the mainstream, consumers are flocking to the internet for food information, and food and beverage marketers are exploring ways to use their online presence​, including websites, apps and social networking sites to connect with current and potential customers.

Who’s embracing digital, and how?

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they used the internet for grocery shopping research, such as checking prices or reading product reviews, whether via a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. And the device through which consumers access the internet could be an important consideration for food marketers, according to Nielsen’s president of strategic initiatives John Burbank.

He said: “Marketers need to determine which consumers are embracing digital for their grocery shopping needs so they can focus on the right shoppers with the right digital strategies to improve consumers’ online experience.”

Burbank suggested that online sales are unlikely to replace traditional shopping entirely, but shoppers increasingly are adopting a multi-channel approach.

Embracing feedback

“Online shopping delivers key attributes shoppers demand, such as convenience, value and choice,” he​ said. “However, the Internet and more specifically e-commerce, will be successful to varying degrees of impact on consumer packaged goods depending on the product category….Marketers need to encourage feedback and provide specialized experiences that increase engagement and build a two-way relationship with the brand.”

In North America, consumers were more likely to seek coupons online than shoppers anywhere else in the world, with 43% of North American respondents saying they looked for online coupons, compared to a global average of 33%.

Nielsen acknowledged that the study was limited by the fact that it was conducted online, meaning that it could only monitor current internet users, rather than entire populations. Therefore, it said that intent to use the internet may be overstated when considering overall trends.

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