While online shopping has moved from fad to norm in recent years, many of us have remained hesitant to trust the internet with our groceries. We might buy everything from clothing to major appliances online without a second thought, but fears of unrefrigerated perishables arriving on our doorstep, or a desire to pick out the best fruits and veggies ourselves, have held us back. But now, it looks like online grocery shopping may finally be catching up to other forms of internet commerce.
Vocativ reports that, according to a recent Harris Poll study [PDF], 31 percent of Americans (and 45 percent of online shoppers) reported purchasing groceries online in the last six months. Ten percent, meanwhile, reported replacing some, or all, of their grocery store trips with online grocery shopping.
The study also found that city dwellers, people with children, college graduates, and Millennials were the most likely to buy their groceries online. While the study doesn’t provide much analysis, those results seem to imply that people living in particularly crowded or busy areas, or juggling the responsibilities of parenthood, may gravitate towards online grocery shopping as a time-saving strategy.
Overall, online grocery shoppers were most likely to purchase snacks and nonalcoholic beverages, and least likely to purchase frozen foods and baking products, implying that consumers may still have some trepidation about purchasing perishables online. In fact, 49 percent of the survey’s participants said they actively sought out non-perishable foods when shopping online. Thirty-one percent, meanwhile, said they sought out items they liked to stock up on.
Vocativ notes that more e-commerce sites seem to be developing grocery services, and that more brick-and-mortar stores have been introducing online shopping options as well. While consumers are still far from making a complete switch to virtual grocery shopping, the Harris Poll study illustrates just how popular online grocery shopping—especially for snacks and non-perishable staples—is becoming. If you’ve been hesitant to purchase food online, now may be the time to give it a shot.