Consumers Enjoy the In-Store Shopping Experience

Shoppers prefer buying food in person at local stores.

More and more consumers are giving online grocery shopping a try, but a significant segment of the population still says they enjoy the in-store experience, according to some recent surveys.

Among the 71% of consumers who have not placed an order online for grocery items in the past three months, almost half — 48% — said the main reason was that they enjoy shopping in person more, according to data from The Hartman Group’s Food Shopping in America 2017 report.

The report found that online grocery shopping continues to grow, however. In 2017, 29% of consumers surveyed for the report said they had ordered food online in the last three months, compared with 23% in 2014 and 18% in 2012.

“As our Food Shopping in America 2017 report finds, providing food for the household is an expression of love, care and nurturance for self and others,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of research and consulting firm The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash. “It is because of this that for many consumers, shopping for groceries is something much more than a chore — it is an act of love.”

A significant majority of shoppers surveyed — 86% — said they had shopped at a brick-and-mortar grocery store in the last 30 days.

Likewise, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that consumers overwhelmingly preferred the shopping experience at their local grocery store, with 62.9% saying it provided the best overall experience, followed by club stores at 13.8%, specialty stores at 9.3% and online retailers at 4.2%.

Local grocery stores were also preferred for pricing, selection, quality and convenience by similar margins. Online retailers performed particularly poorly on pricing, with only 2.6% of consumers saying they found the best prices online, and quality, with only 2.3% of consumers saying they found online retailers to offer the best quality when it comes to grocery shopping.

The poll found that 75% of online shoppers said they rarely or never buy groceries online, according to a report in Fortune magazine.