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US Online 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 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 and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

This Report covers online-only retailers and the online operations of brick and mortar retailers and is inclusive of all online purchasing, whether made via a computer, tablet, smartphone, or other device. The focus of this Report is on tangible objects that need to be picked up or delivered; digital media, travel, entertainment, insurance policies, and other intangible products are not the main subjects of this Report.

This Report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Online Shopping – US, June 2017, Online and Mobile Shopping – US, September 2016 and Online Shopping – US, June 2015.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

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

While purchases made online comprise a small portion of total retail sales, e-commerce continues to grow at staggering rates with no end in sight. Even many retailers that are struggling overall report their e-commerce business as a bright spot. Consumers value the convenience and (often) favorable prices digital shopping brings, but by the same token, are growing increasingly impatient with paying shipping costs and waiting on deliveries. Most consumers do a majority of their purchasing in a store as opposed to online, but the online channel is akin to a second skin for most of these shoppers, playing a major part of the increasingly complex path to purchase, regardless of category. Diana Smith
Associate Director - Retail & Apparel

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Most food and beverage shopping still happens in-store
            • Figure 1: Approach to food and beverage shopping, December 2018
          • Most center-store categories still shopped mainly in-store
            • Figure 2: Shopping methods by category – Top five online development, December 2018
          • Satisfaction with in-store experience is a barrier to online purchase
            • Figure 3: Barriers to purchasing packaged food and beverages online, December 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Experience with online shopping helps to break down barriers
              • Figure 4: Barriers to purchasing packaged food and beverages online, by approach to shopping, December 2018
            • Heaviest online shoppers look beyond discounts
              • Figure 5: Factors that would encourage more online shopping, by shopping approach, December 2018
            • Leveraging in-store experience to support online (and vice versa)
              • Figure 6: Attitudes toward online food and beverage shopping – Shopping enjoyment, by shopping method, December 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Online groceries growing but account for only a tiny portion of total
                • Broader ecommerce trends impact grocery sector
                  • Millennials take on more grocery shopping responsibility
                    • Americans are trying to eat healthier
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Online groceries growing but account for only a tiny portion of total
                        • Figure 7: Total online sales of food and drink*, at current prices, 2013-18
                    • Market Factors

                      • Broader ecommerce trends impact grocery sector
                        • Millennials take on more grocery shopping responsibility
                          • Households with children on the decline
                            • Most consumers report making an effort to eat healthy
                              • Figure 8: Approaches to healthy eating, May 2018
                            • Young adults far more likely to see barriers to healthy eating
                              • Figure 9: Barriers to healthy eating, by gender and age, May 2018
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Traditional retailers invest in ecommerce
                              • Pursuing alternate online channels could help big CPGs build brands
                              • What’s Happening?

                                • Traditional retailers invest in ecommerce
                                  • Kroger sees return on investment in ecommerce
                                    • Leveraging Kroger’s direct marketing expertise
                                      • Figure 10: Kroger online shopping promotional email, February 2019
                                    • Walmart leverages strong store brands as it expands pickup and delivery
                                      • Figure 11: Walmart delivery promotional email featuring bulk-size products, February 2019
                                      • Figure 12: Walmart delivery promotional email facilitating reordering, February 2019
                                      • Figure 13: Amazon prime pantry promotional email, January 2019
                                  • What’s Next?

                                    • Pursuing alternate online channels could help big CPGs build brands
                                      • As online grocery shopping grows, private label could play a bigger role
                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                        • Most food and beverage shopping still happens in-store
                                          • Online shoppers more likely to be motivated by a range of specific needs
                                            • Most center-store categories still shopped mainly in-store
                                              • Time savings motivate online packaged food and beverage purchases
                                                • Satisfaction with in-store experience is a barrier to online purchase
                                                  • Amazon claims most online shoppers overall and most loyal shoppers
                                                    • Online shoppers more likely to compare prices at the store level
                                                      • List-making mainly an in-store shopping exercise
                                                        • Heaviest online shoppers look beyond discounts
                                                          • A streamlined process could bring more center-store purchases online
                                                            • Leveraging in-store experience to support online (and vice versa)
                                                            • Online Food and Beverage Shopping Overview

                                                              • Most food and beverage shopping still happens in-store
                                                                • Figure 14: Approach to food and beverage shopping, December 2018
                                                              • Younger adults more likely to shop for food and beverages online
                                                                • Figure 15: Approach to food and beverage shopping, by age, December 2018
                                                              • Nearly half of in-store shoppers express interest in online shopping
                                                                • Figure 16: Interest in online food and beverage shopping among in-store shoppers, December 2018
                                                              • Online shoppers more likely to be motivated by a range of specific needs
                                                                • Figure 17: Food shopping priorities, by shopping approach, December 2018
                                                              • Smart phones increasingly dominant in online grocery shopping
                                                                • Figure 18: Devices used for online food and beverage shopping, December 2018
                                                            • Shopping Methods for Center-store Categories

                                                              • Most center-store categories still shopped mainly in-store
                                                                • Figure 19: Shopping methods by category, December 2018
                                                              • Top five center-store categories in online development
                                                                • Figure 20: Shopping methods by category – Top five online development, December 2018
                                                              • Bottom five center-store categories in online development
                                                                • Figure 21: Shopping methods by category – Bottom five online development, December 2018
                                                            • Why Do People Purchase Online?

                                                              • Time savings motivate online packaged food and beverage purchases
                                                                • Figure 22: Reasons for purchasing packaged food and beverages online, December 2018
                                                              • Younger online shoppers more likely to appreciate a range of factors
                                                                • Figure 23: Reasons for purchasing packaged food and beverages online, by age, December 2018
                                                            • What Keeps Shoppers from Buying Online?

                                                              • Satisfaction with in-store experience is a barrier to online purchase
                                                                • Figure 24: Barriers to purchasing packaged food and beverages online, December 2018
                                                              • Preference for the tangible aspects of in-store shopping cuts across age groups
                                                                • Figure 25: Barriers to purchasing packaged food and beverages online, by age, December 2018
                                                              • Experience with online shopping helps to break down barriers
                                                                • Figure 26: Barriers to purchasing packaged food and beverages online, by approach to shopping, December 2018
                                                            • Where Do People Buy Online?

                                                              • Amazon claims most online shoppers overall and most loyal shoppers
                                                                • Other online sellers trail in total and most-often shoppers
                                                                  • Figure 27: Retailers for online purchases of packaged food and beverages, December 2018
                                                                • Younger shoppers more likely to shop around
                                                                  • Figure 28: Retailers for online purchases of packaged food and beverages, by age, December 2018
                                                              • Center Store Shopping Behaviors – In-store vs Online

                                                                • Online shoppers more likely to compare prices at the store level
                                                                  • List-making mainly an in-store shopping exercise
                                                                    • Label-reading less likely to happen online
                                                                      • Figure 29: Center-store shopping behaviors – in-store vs online, December 2018
                                                                    • Most frequent online shoppers less likely to compare prices
                                                                      • Figure 30: Center-store shopping behaviors – Online, by shopping approach, December 2018
                                                                  • Factors to Encourage More Online Shopping

                                                                    • Not surprisingly, most shoppers respond to reduced fees and discounts
                                                                      • Figure 31: Factors that would encourage more online shopping, December 2018
                                                                    • Heaviest online shoppers look beyond discounts
                                                                      • Figure 32: Factors that would encourage more online shopping, by shopping approach, December 2018
                                                                  • Attitudes toward Online Food and Beverage Shopping

                                                                    • Online shopping seen as best suited to larger stock-up trips
                                                                      • Figure 33: Attitudes toward online food and beverage shopping – Stock-up vs smaller trips, by shopping method, December 2018
                                                                    • A streamlined process could bring more center-store purchases online
                                                                      • Figure 34: Attitudes toward online food and beverage shopping, by shopping method, December 2018
                                                                    • Leveraging in-store experience to support online (and vice versa)
                                                                      • Figure 35: Attitudes toward online food and beverage shopping – Shopping enjoyment, by shopping method, December 2018
                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                        • Direct marketing creative
                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                              • Terms