Shared from HubSpot
online grocery

“I buy everything online.”

In certain circles, it’s not uncommon to hear those words uttered with some frequency. And within certain categories, it’s more true than others. After all, 30.2% of computer and electronics retail sales take place online, as do 27.4% of apparel sales.

But for some of us, online shopping extends beyond a pair of shoes or a smart speaker. Thanks to some ecommerce services — like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save option — certain shoppers have gotten into the habit of setting up a monthly schedule to buy items like paper towels and vitamins online, as well.

And for a segment of shoppers, we really do buy everything online, including our groceries. But according to a new report, we might not be in the majority, and online grocery sales — only 3% of which take place online — have a long way to go before they reach the ranks of electronics or apparel ecommerce.

We wanted to dig a little deeper into consumer shopping habits — and find out just how many people buy groceries online, and how often they do so. Here’s what we learned.

How Many People Buy Their Groceries Online?

To learn more about the prevalence of online grocery shopping among consumers, we asked 823 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada: Have you ever ordered groceries online through a delivery service like Instacart, Peapod, or Amazon Fresh?

Have you ever ordered groceries online through a delivery service like Instacart, Peapod, or Amazon Fresh?
Data collected with Lucid

Across all three regions, most respondents — 67% — indicated that they do not buy their groceries online.

When responses were broken down by region, that figure was especially high in Canada, where 71% of respondents said they’ve never bought groceries online.

By region -- Have you ever ordered groceries online through a delivery service like Instacart, Peapod, or Amazon Fresh?
Data collected with Lucid

Interestingly, the U.S. showed the highest number of respondents who have bought groceries online — despite some findings that consumers in non-U.S. countries, like South Korea and Japan, are generally “more comfortable” with making purchases on their mobile devices, including groceries. (Last month, for instance, we found that most users in the U.S., UK, and Canada did their holiday shopping offline or using a desktop computer.)

According to a recent story published by the Atlantic — which included the above notes on mobile shopping habits in non-U.S. countries — part of the reason behind a higher rate of online grocery shopping in other nations could be due to the “few large population centers, which makes it easier for delivery companies to set up shop in a few big cities and access a huge amount of purchasing power.”

In the U.S., large cities are spread throughout the continent, creating greater distribution barriers.

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Source: eMarketer

But when online retail giant Amazon entered the digital grocery delivery space — first with its Fresh service and then with is acquisition of organic supermarket chain Whole Foods — some predicted that its preexisting distribution structure would make it a leader within this category.

How Frequently Do Consumers Buy Groceries Online?

Out of those consumers who say they buy groceries online, we wanted to find out how frequently they do so. We asked another 854 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada: How often do you buy groceries online through a delivery service like Instacart, Peapod, or Amazon Fresh?

How often do you buy groceries online through a delivery service like Instacart, Peapod, or Amazon Fresh?
Data collected with Lucid

Again, we found that the highest number of respondents — 56% — indicated that they’ve never bought groceries online before.

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