Bricks and Clicks: Global Grocery Shoppers Want a Blended Experience

Bricks and Clicks: Global Grocery Shoppers Want a Blended Experience

When we connect to our favorite websites, apps and online entertainment services, we’re often immediately immersed in a convenient and unique experience tailored to our interests. Based on criteria like previous purchases, custom settings and demographic information, our experience is streamlined, from product recommendations to speedy checkouts. Now imagine a grocery store where you can receive personal recommendations and offers the moment you step in store, your checkout takes seconds and you can pay for groceries without ever taking out your wallet. Sound far-fetched? It’s closer than you think.

Though technology has fundamentally transformed the way industries such as music, books and videos operate, change has been more evolutionary than revolutionary in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. But digital is redefining what it means to “go” grocery shopping. Lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurring. Shoppers are growing accustomed to the benefits of digital in other retail settings and are beginning to expect them in grocery as well. Savvy retailers are winning by leveraging technology to enhance the shopping experience and meet consumers’ evolving desires.

“The connected commerce era has arrived,” said Patrick Dodd, president, global retailer vertical, Nielsen. “Consumers are no longer shopping entirely online or offline; rather, they’re taking a blended approach, using whatever channel best suits their needs. The most successful retailers and manufacturers will be at the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds, leveraging technology to satisfy shoppers however, wherever and whenever they want to shop.”

Across the globe, we’re seeing a resurgence of the home-delivery model from the past—with a twist. Consumers aren’t just picking up the phone to order; increasingly, they’re pulling up the retailer’s webpage or using their mobile app. In fact, one-quarter of global respondents in Nielsen’s Global E-Commerce and The New Retail Survey say they are already ordering grocery products online for home delivery, and more than half (55%) are willing to use it in the future.

Increasingly, retailers are introducing e-commerce models that make it even easier for tech-savvy, time-crunched consumers to get the items they need. Fourteen percent of global respondents say they use an automatic online subscription service, in which orders are routinely replenished at a specified frequency, and more than half (54%) are willing to do so in the future. In 2011, Tesco (Homeplus) introduced the first virtual supermarket in a South Korean subway system, and the model has spread to other markets. Today, 13% of global respondents say they’re already using a virtual store and nearly six-in-10 (58%) are willing use them when they become available.

A smaller number of consumers are using “click and collect” services, which allow them to order groceries online for pickup at a store or other location. Just over one-in-10 global respondents say they presently order groceries online and pick them up in-store or using a drive-thru (12% each). Slightly fewer (10%) order online for curbside pick-up. More than half of global respondents, however, are willing to use these online options in the future (57% for in-store, 55% for drive-thru and 52% for curbside pickup). 

The report also discusses:

  • The product categories best positioned for e-commerce success.
  • The generational age groups driving online grocery sales intentions.
  • The technology-based convenience options most used, both in-store and out.
  • How the share of in-store retail trade channel differs by channel in developed and developing regions.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global E-commerce and The New Retail Report.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.