The rate at which grocery shoppers are buying online has skyrocketed, nearly doubling in the past two years. Online grocery penetration increased from 11 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in 2015, according a new study by Brick Meets Click.
Grocery has long been considered much less likely to attract online shoppers than other product categories, but that tide is clearly rising—41 percent of shoppers surveyed said they had tried buying groceries online, and 21 percent had done so in the month before the survey in December.
"The tide is rising. One in five U.S. consumers is now an active user of online grocery services, and these shoppers are a valuable group," said Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click and primary author of the new study.
Active users spend roughly 16 percent of their weekly grocery budget online, and 64 percent on weeks when they do a major trip, Bishop noted. The majority of trips (60 percent) are targeted and the larger trips account for 15 percent of trips.
Subscription-based shopping made up 12 percent of online trips.
Major online grocery shopping and subscription-based trips create strong bonds with customers, according to the report. Seventy percent of shoppers who described their last trip as "major grocery shopping" say they'll repeat with that retailer, and 76 percent of the subscription-based shoppers say the same.
Specific-item shoppers are likely to be less loyal to a retailer and only 60 percent intend to be repeat customers.
Supermarkets and mass merchants have been putting systems in place to meet this growing demand. Last month, Whole Foods signed a multiyear deal with Instacart to provide delivery of online orders and plans to invest in the company.
-See this Brick Meets Click survey
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