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Personal care a key opportunity for new online grocery shoppers, researcher says

By Simon PITMAN , 27-Feb-2013
Last updated the 27-Feb-2013 at 15:34 GMT

The move online is not moving as quickly for grocery e-tailing as for other industries, but personal care products are a key opportunity sector for attracting first time shoppers.

The The Hartman Group’s Online Grocery Shopper report covers all aspects of grocery shopping, with an emphasis on food and drink, but also notes that key online opportunity categories for first time online grocery shoppers include personal care products, as well as tissue products such as personal care wipes.

The research suggests that consumers are particularly adding these types of products to their online grocery basket, becaue they are not fresh products, so the quality tends to be more consistent and reliable.

“For all current and potential online grocery shoppers, it is important to rethink the role of online versus in-store, and reimagine how their strategic interplay might capture greater engagement and purchases,” added the report.

“Consider how to create experiences that don’t simply mirror each other but are complementary and guide shoppers to patronize both channels.”

An increasing proportion of grocery shopping is being done online

According to The Online Grocery Shopper report from the Hartman Group, 18 percent of US households went online in the past three months to buy their regular household groceries, of which 75 percent purchased 5 percent or more of all purchases online, and 20 percent purchased at least half online.

“Online grocery shopping represents a natural evolution in how consumers are living their lives concurrently in both the physical and digital worlds,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group.

“Future growth of the online grocery channel will be driven by two key factors: 1) breaking well-entrenched habits (both emotional and physical) associated with in-store shopping and 2) being ready to help customers find and navigate the online grocery channel when situational triggers arise.”

The report is based on data from a nationally representative online survey of 1,595 household grocery shoppers. Data was also obtained from current and potential online grocery shoppers in Seattle, New York and Chicago.

Unsurprisingly, the report notes that today’s online grocery shopper, representing 14 percent of US households, is more likely to be “young, urban, a user of mobile technology, in a multi-person, high-income household, and within walking distance to a grocery store”.

Slow transition

While significant amounts of money are moving online – the online grocery shopper is described as a high-value customer, spending more and shopping more every month than those who do not use the online grocery channel - future growth will be driven by two key factors:

Breaking well-entrenched habits associated with in-store shopping, and Being ready to help customers find and navigate the online grocery channel when situational triggers arise, said the report.

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