LAKE SUCCESS, NY - The Retail Feedback Group (RFG) recently published its 2020 US Online & In-Store Grocery Shopping Study, providing insight from both instore and online shoppers collected amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Key insight from the study shows that an increasing percentage of consumers are becoming omnichannel shoppers. 

“Grocers and analysts have traditionally segmented ‘in-store shoppers’ from ‘online shoppers,’ however, a key takeaway from our research is the extent to which individual shoppers are now buying groceries both in a store and online, and that this activity is strongest among the younger and growing generations,” said Doug Madenberg, principal with RFG. “We now have food shoppers who are able, and increasingly willing, to utilize a blend of physical stores and digital storefronts to meet their families' needs, and it will be paramount to satisfy these shoppers going forward.” 

The study’s key findings were: 

  • Dual Channel Shopping Becoming More Common, Particularly Among Younger Shoppers – More than 50% of instore shoppers had ordered groceries online within the last 30 days of the survey. 66% of Generation Z shoppers and 61% of millennial shoppers reported doing so, followed by 52% of Generation X and 37% of Baby Boomers. 

  • Majority of Online Shoppers Used More Than One Service Provider in Last Three Months - 62% of online shoppers used more than one online grocery provider, suggesting consumers likely tried different services to find the one that best meet their needs.  

  • Online Shopper Satisfaction Down From 2019 – Overall satisfaction of online shoppers registered 4.38 out of five, down from 4.48 in 2019. 

  • Instore Shoppers Give Supermarkets Lower Ratings for Item Variety/Selection & Value for Money - Instore shoppers rated grocery stores the highest in cleanliness (4.41) and quality/freshness (4.37), while item variety and selection (4.0) and value for money (3.93) had the lowest satisfaction ratings. 

  • In-Stock Conditions Challenging In-Store and Online - 51% of instore indicated that everything they wanted to purchase was not in stock, while 49% of online shoppers noted the same. Only 17% of online shoppers were able to find an acceptable substitution for all of their out of stock items and 45% did not receive all of the items they ordered. 

  • Shoppers Concerned About Safety of Food and In-Store Supermarket Shopping During Pandemic – 54% of online and instore shoppers indicated they were highly confident the food they purchased during the pandemic was safe, and 44% reported they were somewhat confident. 33% of consumers indicated they felt safe shopping in the supermarket. 

  • Consumers Spending More, Shopping Less, and Stocking Up - 55% of consumers reported shopping less frequently, whether instore or online and 51% indicated they were spending more per trip. 55% of shoppers keep two to four weeks of meat and seafood on hand whereas previously the majority (52%) just kept one week’s stock. 

“Although supermarkets surged in online shopping use, and many customers may stick, the results show some supermarket shoppers don’t expect to continue online shopping,” said Brian Numainville, principal with RFG. “With that in mind, it will be important that supermarkets and online service providers maximize their investment by continually strengthening their offerings in order to retain existing customers, while attracting new ones, along with preparing for any future situations.”