The pandemic has ushered in a transformative era for the grocery industry, disrupting the long-standing dominance of brick-and-mortar stores as the primary channel for grocery shopping. According to PYMNTS’ recent consumer research, the landscape has undergone a significant shift, with only 44% of consumers now primarily purchasing common grocery items at physical grocery stores. This marks a substantial decline of 29% from pre-pandemic times in 2020. However, this change is merely the tip of the iceberg, as consumers continue to gravitate towards new avenues of grocery shopping.
PYMNTS’ report, titled “Changes in Grocery Shopping Habits and Perception,” delves into the evolving purchasing behaviors of 2,426 consumers in the United States, shedding light on the factors driving these transformations.
One prominent finding reveals the waning appeal of traditional grocery stores, as shoppers increasingly embrace digital platforms. PYMNTS’ research indicates that a staggering 77% of grocery shoppers have curtailed their purchases from brick-and-mortar stores across various product categories. This trend cuts across demographic groups with minimal variation. Notably, 48% of consumers have reduced their purchases of cleaning supplies, followed closely by 47% for paper products and 38% for packaged items. Food items have also experienced a significant decline, with 36% of consumers reducing their purchases of frozen food and 35% cutting back on canned food.
The rise of digital-only grocery shopping has been nothing short of extraordinary. Prior to the pandemic, a mere 0.2% of shoppers relied on digital channels for their grocery needs. However, this figure has since skyrocketed to 7.2%, representing a staggering increase of 3,600% and an estimated 16 million shoppers in the United States. These early adopters of digital grocery shopping predominantly consist of bridge millennials and millennials, with 11% and 13% respectively utilizing digital platforms for all their household product needs.
Convenience and attractive deals are key drivers behind the surge in digital grocery shopping. A significant 62% of consumers cited convenience as a major factor in their decision to embrace digital channels, with 36% ranking it as their primary motivation. The allure of better deals and benefits enticed 54% of shoppers to opt for digital grocery shopping, with 32% regarding it as their primary reason.
Interestingly, different factors hold varying appeal for different generations. Younger shoppers, for instance, are more likely to prioritize convenience as their main driver, while older consumers are inclined to seek better prices and deals.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of how grocery stores and retailers can adapt to these shifting consumer preferences, it is advised to download the full report. The findings provide valuable insights for industry players seeking to meet the evolving needs of shoppers in this dynamic landscape.