Do you buy your groceries online, or do you prefer roaming the aisles at your local supermarket in real life? According to a recent poll from Reuters/Ipsos, most people still shun online grocery shopping and head for the store.
From the Reuters article on the survey results:
Seventy-five percent of online shoppers said they rarely or never buy groceries online, according to the survey of nearly 8,600 adults from Aug. 12 to Sept. 1. Even among frequent online shoppers who make internet purchases at least weekly, almost 60 percent said they never buy groceries online or do so just a few times a year, according to the poll.
This actually makes sense given how so much of how we pick our food depends on the quality of the product — sorting through bunches of bananas to find the right bunch, getting the best cut of meat, etc.. Additionally, online groceries run into the same lack of spontaneity problem that prepared meal kits do. You don’t always know what you want until you roam the aisles, see all the options at once, and pick what you are in the mood for then.
The Reuters article uses this data as a backdrop to question Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods. But we think this actually reaffirms why Amazon paid $13.7 billion for the high-end grocer.
Amazon has been trying to get into the grocery business forever. Buying online works for staples that you eat all the time, such as restocking your favorite yogurt and bread each week, and other pantry items. But when it comes to more perishable and fresh items, the company realized it needed an option for people to pick up in person.
Buying Whole Foods gave the company an instant country-wide, supply chain and delivery network built specifically for food that was already in the neighborhood. The bonus of buying a higher-end chain like Whole Foods is that people are more inclined to believe in the higher quality of its product.
Through a combination of what it knows about you already, connected devices like Alexa, machine learning and unparalleled expertise in delivering items to your home quickly, Amazon will get people to (slowly) migrate people to buying more groceries online.
Even Reuters points out that while people may not be buying their groceries online right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Nielsen predicts online groceries will grow to a $100 billion business by 2025. A survey in that year will most likely have drastically different numbers.