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Not All Shoppers Want Groceries Delivered

Men, boomers and local supermarket customers have lower interest than others

Even though supermarkets have upped their digital commerce offerings over the past few years and online grocery shopping has been on the rise, a good number of US consumers just aren't that interested in having groceries delivered. 

According to a recent survey by Civic Science, 12% of US adult consumers currently use a grocery delivery service with an additional 2% interested in trying it. A majority (68%) had no interest in the convenience, though, and 7% had never even heard of such a thing.

Drilling down, demographic differences emerged. Close to half (45%) of those respondents who were interested in grocery delivery were Gen Xers, and far more women (67%) than men (33%) were likely to use this service.

By supermarket preference (excluding local grocery store shoppers), Whole Foods and Trader Joe's customers were more likely to have used a grocery delivery service and liked it (24%), while those who tried it and didn't like it were more inclined to shop at a co-op or rely on community-supported agriculture (16%). Consumers with no interest were part of the highest percent of local grocery store shoppers (63%) and were also the respondents most likely to shop at a Sam's Club or Walmart (21%).

Those who use delivery are more driven by brands (45%) when shopping for food, while those who hadn't heard of it were more driven by price (37%). More mysterious was the 65% who had no interest in delivery and were mostly driven by neither brand nor price. 

This survey didn't get into specific reasons why a shopper would or wouldn't use a delivery service. It's possible that respondents were more creatures of habit, since the majority prefer to shop at a local supermarket. Traditional consumers also might be older, and sure enough, 44% of those surveyed who weren't interested in grocery delivery were 55 and older.

Brick Meets Click survey published in July 2018 also found digital grocery purchases declined with age. Just 16% of respondents who bought groceries online at least monthly were 60 or older. 

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, in collaboration with the AARP Foundation, found similar levels of online grocery-buying activity among consumers ages 50 and older: 17% of respondents said they had ever bought groceries online and picked up in-store, while 16% had ever bought groceries online for delivery. 

Consumers who bought groceries online tended to fall into two groups: affluent or those with mobility issues. Motivations given by the online grocery shoppers over 50 who use delivery were not having to travel to a store (82%), taking their time to shop (73%) and not being physically burdened (72%).