Only 1 percent of the $600 billion in annual U.S. food and beverage sales occur online. However, a new report from BI Intelligence predicts that online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.1 percent between 2013 and 2018, reaching $18 billion by the end of the period.
Conversely, offline grocery sales for the forecasted period are expected to rise 3.1 percent annually, reported Business Insider.
The survey showed that shopping habits are clearly changing as online convenience and specialty stores gain traction.
Of those surveyed, only 15 percent of adults in the U.S. have purchased general food items online, but 25 percent have bought specialty foods—products hard to find anywhere else—online.
It seems that fast delivery will be a top priority moving forward. As many as 25 percent of millennials said they would pay a premium to get same-day delivery. And as consumers become accustomed to the convenience of same-day delivery services at companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), they will continue to expect this type of service.
Google recently expanded its Shopping Express same-day delivery service to include Manhattan and West Los Angeles. The announcement came on the heels of a similar move by Amazon to expand its same-day delivery to Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
What was holding back modern consumers from buying online? The biggest concerns included shipping fees and the quality and freshness of orders.
The report found that concierge shopping and subscription prepared meal models were gaining traction by offering unique services completely different from the traditional grocery shopping experience. Businesses such as Instacart, which delivers products from multiple retailers within hours, are already making personal shopping services more normative. Instacart recently announced its launch in D.C., and it is also available in San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.
Correction: This story's headline originally identified online grocery's share of the market in 2018 to be $600 billion. Rather, it is projected to be $18 billion. Today's total grocery market is estimated at $600 billion. The headline has been corrected.
-See this Business Insider article
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