Physical stores still dominate U.S. grocery

Discount stores and traditional supermarkets are U.S. shoppers’ most popular choices when it comes to buying food. At least for the time being.

Nearly all — 99% — of adults buy some or all of their groceries in-person, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The immediate access to products (71%) and the ability to select fresh meat, dairy and produce (70%) were the top reasons driving in-store shopping, along with the ability to see all other items in person (69%).

The survey round that consumers on average shop at 5.4 different types of grocery retailers, with 93% of people patronizing discount department stores (e.g., Walmart and Target) and 92% shopping at traditional supermarkets for grocery purchases, according to a new survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Sixty-nine percent of consumers shop at limited assortment food stores (e.g. Aldi and Trader Joe’s) and at warehouse clubs.

Traditional supermarkets have the most frequent visitors, with 55% making purchases at least once per week. The largest shares of infrequent shoppers buy occasionally (every few months) from small, specialty/gourmet food stores (76%) and high-end supermarkets (65%).

The study revealed that millennials have different grocery shopping behaviors, with a much higher number buying groceries from convenience stores (74%), Amazon/other pure online retailers (67%) and high-end supermarkets (66%). Even when buying online, 81% of millennials go to the store to pick-up their grocery order.

“Millennials have been called the foodie generation and blend that with their command of technology and we see some changes in grocery purchasing behaviors, which will drive all grocery retailers to make appropriate modifications in their business model to address the way they shop,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “The grocery retailer who wins their share of wallet is the one who delivers an omnichannel experience that meets their desires and demands.”

In other survey findings:

  • More than four out of 10 consumers (44%) have their grocery purchases delivered to their home and over one-third (36%) have items shipped by mail or courier service to their home.
  • Fifty-four percent of high-end supermarket shoppers who buy online have the retailer deliver the groceries to their home — the highest of any type of online grocery shopper.

Source: Chain Store Age