Online-only shopping is growing, says study

A recent paper out of the Food Market Institute (FMI) notes that growth in digital-only and specialty retailers is beginning to chip away at brick-and-mortar’s retail supremacy. This is reflected in a 2 per cent dip in shopping frequency at traditional full-service supermarkets over the past year.

 

“E-commerce is substantially gaining users,” said David Fikes, FMI’s vice-president of consumer/communication affairs and communication, said during the Food Retail Implications for U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 presentation. Fikes notes that online-only food stores have jumped 6% in frequency of visits since last year.

 

According to the research, nearly half of all Millennials are part of this shift to exclusively digital stores.

 

The study found that Millennials prefer to buy fresh bakery items, meats, seafood, produce, and refrigerated dairy foods at traditional stores, while baby food, pet products, household cleaning items, salty snacks, and sweets are more often bought online. Additionally, Millennials also prefer to pick up non-prescription drugs at stores, rather than on the Internet.

 

This information suggests that independent grocers and health food stores should focus on their fresh offerings, rather than non-perishable goods: this category is one that is less easily disturbed by e-commerce.

 

“It’s one of those realities that we have to deal with and we have to understand that while we have defined food retail in a certain way for 50 years, it is being redefined for us,” Fikes said. “We can either be a part of that redefinition or we can be left out of redefinition.”