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US Online Grocery Shopping Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Online Grocery Shopping market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, what are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

This Report focuses on all retail channels that sell grocery products online including internet only retailers as well as the eCommerce operations of traditional supermarkets, warehouse clubs, natural markets, drug stores, dollar stores, convenience stores and specialty food retailers.

Groceries are defined as products such as food, beverages, household goods (eg cleaning products, toilet paper, garbage bags), and/or personal care products.

An important companion to this Report is Mintel’s Grocery Retailing – US, July 2018 which provides a macro overview of the US grocery market.

What you need to know

Despite doubling from 2013-18, online grocery sales in the US remain a small proportion of total grocery sales and an even smaller proportion of total eCommerce. Unlike other major product categories, adoption of online shopping in this sector has been slow, namely due to consumers’ strong preference to shop in-store, coupled with concerns about food arriving fresh and undamage dupon delivery. Still, as with total eCommerce, online grocery ordering will increase, with younger generations leading the way.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Diana Smith, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Despite doubling from 2013-18, online grocery sales in the US remain a small proportion of total grocery sales and an even smaller proportion of total eCommerce. Unlike other major product categories, adoption of online shopping in this sector has been slow, namely due to consumers’ strong preference to shop in-store, coupled with concerns about food arriving fresh and undamaged upon delivery. Still, as with total eCommerce, online grocery ordering will increase, with younger generations leading the way. Diana Smith
Associate Director - Retail & Apparel

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • Social media and peer-generated content are crucial to selling online
            • Video helps sell products and build relationships
              • Building trust is essential
                • Product reviews are paramount
                  • What’s next: More buying directly through social media, richer product reviews
                  • Social Media and Product Reviews and Online Shopping – Overview

                    • More spending is shifting from stores to online
                      • Consumers are always connected
                        • Social media is a part of our lives
                          • Figure 1: Social media usage, February 2018
                        • Social media posts can drive spontaneous purchasing
                            • Figure 2: General social media pre-purchase browsing, by select demographics, September 2018
                          • The trust issue
                            • Figure 3: Trust in social media product content, by online shopping frequency, September 2018
                          • How product reviews factor in
                              • Figure 4: Pre- and post-purchase product review activities, September 2018
                            • Incorporate product reviews in to social media
                                • Figure 5: Video product review consumption, by generation, February 2018
                            • Social Media – Initiatives by Platform

                                • Shoppable posts
                                  • Pinterest
                                    • Instagram
                                      • Chat lists on Facebook
                                        • Figure 6: Facebook Messenger retailer list example, October 2018
                                      • Image-based shopping
                                      • Social Media – What You Need to Know

                                        • Videos are popular before and after purchasing
                                          • Small discounts can encourage social media posts
                                            • A little help from consumers’ friends
                                            • Social Media – Pre-purchase Browsing

                                              • YouTube outpaces other channels for inspiration
                                                • Figure 7: Social media pre-purchase browsing behavior, by platform, September 2018
                                              • Who’s browsing on each platform?
                                                • Social media plays a role across all categories bought online
                                                  • Figure 8: Social media pre-purchase browsing, by product categories bought online; furniture, home decor, electronics/appliances September 2018
                                                  • Figure 9: Social media pre-purchase browsing, by product categories bought online; beauty items, footwear, clothing/accessories, September 2018
                                                  • Figure 10: Social media pre-purchase browsing, by product categories bought online; groceries, personal care products, and household products, September 2018
                                              • Social Media – Pre-purchase Activities

                                                • Just press play
                                                    • Figure 11: Pre-purchase active engagement, September 2018
                                                  • Younger consumers watch product videos
                                                    • Figure 12: Product video usage as pre-purchase activity, by age, September 2018
                                                  • Dads want to hear from others on social media
                                                    • Figure 13: Product recommendation solicitation on social media, by parental status by gender, September 2018
                                                  • Consumers “like” a good discount on Facebook
                                                    • Figure 14: Pre-purchase active engagement, by product categories bought online; furniture, home décor, electronics/appliances, September 2018
                                                    • Figure 15: Pre-purchase active engagement, by product categories bought online; groceries, household products, personal care products, September 2018
                                                    • Figure 16: Pre-purchase active engagement, by product categories bought online; beauty items, footwear, clothing/accessories, September 2018
                                                • Social Media – Post Purchase

                                                  • Videos keep consumers engaged after buying
                                                    • Figure 17: Post purchase online activities, September 2018
                                                  • Dads are sharing and commenting about products on Facebook
                                                      • Figure 18: Post-purchase social media posting behaviors, by parental status and gender, September 2018
                                                    • Rewards drive younger consumers to post on social media
                                                      • Figure 19: Likelihood to post on social media if offered a future discount, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                    • Negative experiences can drive negative perceptions online
                                                      • Figure 20: Attitudes and behaviors around negative social media posts, by online shopping frequency, September 2018
                                                    • Social media is viewed as a last resort for customer service
                                                        • Figure 21: Social media customer service outreach, by parental status, by age, September 2018
                                                      • Facebook is most popular for customer service inquiries
                                                        • Rapid response
                                                        • Social Media – Future Purchasing Drivers

                                                          • Friends help retailers stand out with older consumers
                                                              • Figure 22: Attitudes toward paid social media posts, by generation, September 2018
                                                            • Social media drives impulse purchasing
                                                                • Figure 23: Attitudes toward social media and impulse purchasing, by gender and age, by Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                            • Product Reviews – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Two thirds of all online shoppers read product reviews
                                                                • Shoppers pay close attention to review details
                                                                  • Show more size information, images from users
                                                                    • Feature reviews that tell how to use a product
                                                                    • Product Reviews – Usage and Attitudes

                                                                      • Two thirds of online shoppers read product reviews before buying
                                                                        • Figure 24: Pre-purchase product review usage, by generation, September 2018
                                                                      • Reading beyond the star ratings
                                                                        • Figure 25: Attitudes toward online product reviews, September 2018
                                                                      • Negative reviews and lack of reviews deter younger women
                                                                        • Figure 26: Attitudes toward online product reviews, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                      • Omnichannel browsing creates loyalty
                                                                        • Figure 27: In-store online product review usage, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                      • Verify accuracy of reviews to build trust
                                                                        • Figure 28: Reasons why consumers don’t read product reviews, September 2018
                                                                    • Product Reviews – What Consumers Value

                                                                      • Quality, product size, user experience, and user-generated content matter
                                                                          • Figure 29: Product review content that consumers value, September 2018
                                                                        • Quality – Review quality tops quantity
                                                                            • Figure 30: Attitudes toward product review quality, by generation, September 2018
                                                                          • Sizing – Women value information about how clothes, furniture fit
                                                                              • Figure 31: Attitudes toward product size information in product reviews, by gender, September 2018
                                                                            • User experience – Parents of younger children want to know how others used products
                                                                                • Figure 32: Attitudes toward user experience information in product reviews, by parental status and age of children, September 2018
                                                                              • User generated content – More frequent online shoppers have higher interest
                                                                                  • Figure 33: Attitudes toward user-generated content in product reviews, by online shopping frequency, September 2018
                                                                                • Combine quality and quantity of reviews with how customer service issues were handled
                                                                                    • Figure 34: TURF analysis – Attitudes toward product reviews, September 2018
                                                                                  • What’s in style
                                                                                      • Figure 35: Information consumers want to see more of in product reviews, September 2018
                                                                                    • Tell consumers how to use a product and where other reviewers are from
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Desire to see more information in product reviews on occasions where clothing can be worn and geographic location, by parental status, September 2018
                                                                                    • Product Reviews – What Consumers Will Share

                                                                                      • Consumers are open to sharing personal information
                                                                                          • Figure 37: Information consumers are comfortable sharing in product reviews, September 2018
                                                                                        • Younger consumers are willing to share more personal information
                                                                                            • Figure 38: Attitudes toward sharing clothing size, geographic location, or images in product reviews, by generation, September 2018
                                                                                        • How Consumers Read Product Reviews

                                                                                          • Evaluating a sample review
                                                                                              • Figure 39: Product review examples
                                                                                            • Consumers want to know that a product works and performs
                                                                                              • Going beyond price
                                                                                                • A picture is worth a thousand words
                                                                                                • Product Reviews – Why Consumers Would Consider Writing in the Future

                                                                                                  • Positive experiences lead consumers to review products
                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Reasons for writing product reviews in the future, September 2018
                                                                                                    • Older consumers are motivated to write reviews to help others
                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Better informing others as a reason for writing product reviews in the future, by generation, September 2018
                                                                                                      • Rural consumers want to support smaller businesses
                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Reasons for writing a product review in the future, by geographic area, September 2018
                                                                                                        • Reaching out, appealing to consumers’ desire to help others can drive more to write reviews
                                                                                                            • Figure 43: TURF analysis – Reasons for writing product reviews, September 2018
                                                                                                          • How consumers would approach writing a future online product review
                                                                                                            • Focus on functionality
                                                                                                              • Helping others
                                                                                                                • Detail oriented
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                        • Terms
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Social media usage, by generation, February 2018
                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Table - TURF analysis – Attitudes toward product reviews, September 2018
                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Table - TURF analysis – Reasons for writing product reviews, September 2018