Consumer desire to ‘see and pick’ own groceries a major barrier to online shopping

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 2nd October 2017

Consumer desire to physically see and choose groceries remains a major barrier to the uptake of online grocery shopping a new US study has found.

The study, conducted by financial consultants Morgan Stanley, discovered that 84 per cent of surveyed consumers said they are resistant to buying groceries online because of an inability to touch and view goods.

In a report summarising the study, Morgan Stanley analysts said while consumers can become more comfortable with online shopping over time, “the sensory experience of seeing/smelling/feeling perishable food items cannot easily be replicated”.

Approximately 60 per cent of consumers are however ok purchasing non-perishable products.

Shoppers said they are also more comfortable purchasing groceries online if they can pick them up in-store.

“We are positive on the pick-up at-store model, providing online order convenience without all added costs of delivery,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote.

“Supported by survey data, we believe consumers could be willing to do a full basket shop when ordering online for pick-up.”

Resistance to online grocery shopping decreasing

Although only 3 per cent of industry sales are online grocery sales, Morgan Stanley expects the segment to grow with food retailers increasingly focusing on their online channels.

Consumer resistance to online grocery shopping is falling with 37 per cent of consumers today stating they would be “very unlikely” to purchase food online. Two years ago, 47 per cent had this sediment.

“Overall, with consumers on average shopping at 3 stores for their grocery needs, we continue to see a place for both brick and mortar and online operators within the Food retail industry,” Morgan Stanley analysts said.


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