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Online grocery sales to spike in US

By 2025, the share of online grocery spending could reach 20% of all grocery sales at retail in the US.

Online grocery shopping could account for a fifth of all retail grocery sales in the US by 2025.

That means American consumers would be spending about $100 billion a year buying their groceries (foods, drinks and other CPG products) online – the equivalent of about 3900 grocery stores based on store volume.

These are among the forecasts in a preview of joint research by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen.

In a press release, they said their “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” study shows that within the next decade, online food shopping will reach maturation in the US, “far faster than other industries that have come online before.”

Chris Morley, president of U.S. Buy at Nielsen said the need for retailers and manufacturers to know the differences around how consumers shop online versus in-store is greater than ever before.

Grocery the next big retail sector to be reshaped by digital

Key findings from the research include:

  • About 23% of American households are buying food online today.
  • Of those that will buy online, 60% expect to spend over a quarter of their food dollars online in ten years.
  • Grocery shopping will reach digital maturity and saturation faster than other industries have, such as publishing or banking.
  • Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt grocery related digital technologies more quickly and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further.

According to the FMI and Nielsen, the six most important factors for online grocery shoppers are trust, value, experience, assortment, convenience and personalisation.


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Online grocery sales grow 15% to $48bn

"FMCG growth is slowing, but our data shows that people are looking for more convenience, which can be met by shopping online."

The global e-commerce grocery market has grown 15% in the year to this June, reaching sales worth US $48 billion.

In comparison, the FMCG market as a whole is flat, increasing just 1.6% over the same period.

And e-commerce now accounts for 4.4% of all FMCG sales, according to the new 3rd annual Kantar Worldpanel study The Future of E-commerce in FMCG.

Kantar Worldpanel global shopper and retail director Stéphane Roger said the data shows that while overall FMCG growth is slowing, people are looking for more convenience, “which can be met by shopping online.”

Grocery e-commerce, although currently small, with only one in four people shopping online, is growing fast.

“We forecast it will grow to 9% of the market and be worth $150 billion by 2025. With new entrants such as Amazon expanding rapidly, the industry is facing a shake-up,” he said.
Key findings from the report include that:

  • E-commerce growth is not equal around the world and is not explained by connectivity. South Korea is the world’s largest online FMCG market by value share (16.6%) but in the US, also a digitally developed country, only 1.4% of groceries are bought online.
  • China is the market which saw the biggest growth in the last 12 months, 47% – to a value share of 4.2%.
  • Europe has a relatively low adoption of e-commerce in all countries except the UK with 6.9% of the market and France which has 5.3%.
  • France is a relatively unique e-commerce market as their success is with the Drive model whereby the online shop is collected from the store.
  • Once shoppers have begun shopping online they are more likely to continue doing so.
  • Online shopping baskets are usually bigger – shoppers generally spend more per trip online than they do offline. Brands that make it onto online shopping lists are more likely to stay there
  • 55% of online shoppers use the same shopping list from one purchase to the next so brands need to focus their efforts on getting onto that list.