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People like online grocery shopping, but not as much as they love going to the store

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
The fun is overwhelming.
By Deena Shanker
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Good news for supermarkets: Despite the boom in online grocery shopping options (try, e.g., AmazonFresh, Instacart, FreshDirect, Nature’s Basket, Epermarket), brick-and-mortar stores are not going to disappear.

A new survey from Nielsen found that while a quarter of global respondents are using online grocery ordering and 55% are willing to use it down the road, 61% reported that they still find grocery shopping at the store to be an “enjoyable and engaging experience.” Nearly as many—57%—said that retail grocery shopping is a “fun day out for the family.” (Um, really?)

The survey, which polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries, found most people don’t fully rely on either; they use a mix of both. But certain shoppers are more likely to choose the Internet than others. Millenials (ages 21-34), no surprise, are the most likely to buy their groceries online (although at some point, they will likely be overtaken by the next generation, once Mom and Dad stop buying their groceries for them).

Interestingly, digital grocery shopping may have the brightest future in developing markets, where survey respondents were the most willing to use digital grocery shopping options.

While online grocery shopping is positioned to grow, actual stores still serve an important purpose. Besides providing a ”fun day out for the family,” some foods are just better suited for buying in-person, like fresh and frozen foods, beverages, condiments and other immediate-use items, the study found. As anyone who has ordered produce online has likely experienced, it’s rare than someone else can be trusted to pick your fruit.

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