Nielsen Survey Shows Online Grocery Shopping Up, Creating Opportunities for Marketers


With more consumers doing their grocery shopping online, marketers,
particularly in the food and beverage categories, need to identify those potential
customers and target them with digital promotions, a new research study by
Nielsen suggests.

"Marketers need to determine which consumers are
embracing digital for their grocery shopping needs so they can focus on the
right shoppers with the right digital strategies to improve consumers' online
experience," says John Burbank, president of strategic initiatives at

While the survey is global -- it polled more than 28,000
Internet respondents in 56 countries -- the trend certainly applies in the U.S.

The survey found that consumers' intent to buy food and
beverages online has grown by 44% over the past two years, and that 26% of
respondents said they plan to purchase those categories via computer,
smartphone or tablet in the next three to six months. On top of that, 61% of
respondents said they currently use the Internet for grocery shopping research.
That's another area food and beverage marketers can use to supply helpful
information about their products, as well as couponing to motivate sales.

Among the respondents, 20% say they plan to purchase
electronic books, digital newspapers and magazine subscriptions, another area
where grocery categories can get in on the ground floor with advertising.

Clothing, books and consumer electronics are still the
categories that get the highest intentions for digital shopping, but according
to Burbank, online influence of consumer packaged goods products in
"clearly growing."

Other results that indicate a growing move by consumers to
go online for grocery purchases:

  • 45% of respondents use the Internet to get information about
    a specific grocery product
  • 43% of respondents search online for deals
  • 33% read a grocery retailer's promotional circular or flyer online
  • 33% look online for coupons
  • 26% browse a food manufacturer website
  • 18% provide feedback through social media
  • 11% use a digital shopping list

According to the survey, 47% of respondents reported spending
at least 25% of their total research time for grocery shopping-related
activities on a connected device. And 23% said they spend at least 50% of their
research time on the Internet.

Among those respondents who said they use the Internet for
grocery shopping-related activities, between 63% and 91%, depending on the
specific type of activity, do so weekly or monthly.

"Marketers need to encourage feedback and provide
specialized experiences that increase engagement and build a two-way
relationship with their brand," Burbank says. "In a world where
consumers have increasing influence on a brand's perception through social
media, ratings and reviews, authentic responses and generating advocacy is