What will be the future of market delivery?

Online grocery shopping has become a habit during the pandemic, but is this behavior here to stay? Find out what the latest research says.

Research reveals how the habit of online grocery shopping is developing post-pandemic

During the pandemic, Many people started to do their grocery shopping online —many of them for the first time in their lives. In Brazil, the percentage of people who make this type of purchase online jumped from 9% to 30% between 2019 and 2021, according to the National Confederation of Store Managers. But is this new habit here to stay? In her technology column published in The New York Times, journalist Shira Ovide points out that some directions of the future of virtual food retail are still somewhat uncertain.

She evaluated data on online grocery shopping in the United States and realized that Americans are actually making much more grocery purchases online than in 2019. Between 2019 and 2021, the share of this type of purchase in the general commerce market electronic jumped from 26% to 37%, according to the US Online Grocery Snapshot report: Q4 2021, from Forrester Research.

But, at the turn of 2022, with people returning to work and the relaxation of physical distancing rules in the country, online sales of food and groceries stabilized, with around 2.7 orders per month for each customer —33% a more than in 2019, but 5% less than in 2021, a result driven by the drop in deliveries made by carriers, points out the Brick Meets Click study, from Mercatus. 

In your online shopping, North Americans have preferred to buy beauty, health and pet and home products (which correspond to 63% of purchases). Non-perishable foods correspond to 25% of the virtual cart, and perishables correspond to 12%. 

According to Mercatus research, the only modality that is growing in the United States right now is buying online and picking up in store. Between January 2021 and 2022, market delivery fell by 2%, while online purchasing with in-store pickup increased by 6%. In the general picture, purchases with pickup accounted for a share of 47% of this market, and delivery, 35%.

“It is inevitable that digital sales will continue to increase, including for groceries. But digital transformation is often not a straight march up a mountain, but rather an irregular climb, with descent and lateral movement”, writes Shira. “Grocery shopping is on a particularly uneven trajectory. My analysis is that, if North Americans didn’t fall in love with buying bananas online, they didn’t reject this option either.”

Adaptation of supermarkets

She explains that before 2020, Americans weren't very excited about home grocery delivery, so almost all shopping happened in physical stores. But, during the pandemic, online purchases now represent 7% to 15% in this market (compared to 4% in 2019).

The Forrester report shows that in many categories of products purchased in supermarkets, online growth is lower than in January 2020. However, the country's rising cost of living and food prices make it difficult to analyze why This has been happening, according to the columnist.

Meanwhile, supermarkets such as Walmart, Target and Kroger are investing to make it easier for people to pick up purchases that people make online in physical stores, following the preference shown in research. “Large supermarkets are also redesigning stores to make it easier for their employees to assemble online orders, and some have invested in more automated mini warehouses similar to Amazon’s,” points out Shira.

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