In a survey, 56% of respondents cited Walmart as a retailer they use to buy groceries online, while 50% named Amazon Prime or Whole Foods.

A survey from online grocery delivery service Good Eggs Inc. finds 68% of consumers ordered groceries online for home delivery between March and late August—and the most-used retailer for grocery delivery was Walmart Inc.

56% of survey respondents cited Walmart as a retailer they use to shop for groceries online. In second place was Amazon Prime/Whole Foods, named by 50%. The app-based delivery service Instacart and regional traditional grocery stores that offer online delivery tied for third place with 23% each.

The 68% of shoppers buying groceries online for home delivery include 43% who do so two or more times each month. 47% of respondents say they are ordering groceries for curbside pickup and 17% supplement their grocery shopping with meal kits. Among those shopping online for groceries, 81% plan to continue the practice once the pandemic passes, the survey says.

60% of respondents are spending more on groceries now than before the COVID-19 crisis—including 24% who are spending “significantly more.” The top two product categories consumers are purchasing more are snack foods (44%) and pantry staples (39%). 30% of survey participants cited buying more produce, baking ingredients, lunch food/ingredients, and eggs since the pandemic started.

75% of the consumers surveyed say their eating and cooking habits have changed since the pandemic began. In that group, 46% say they are cooking much more, 29% say they are doing more meal planning, and 22% say they are doing more bulk cooking. Also, 24% say they are buying fewer prepared foods.

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The high level of online grocery shopping among consumers does not mean they’re doing all their grocery shopping that way. 71% of those surveyed continue to buy groceries in stores. With the holidays approaching, just 25% say they will use grocery delivery to purchase everything they need for their holiday meals. 50% will buy items both via grocery delivery and in stores and 25% plan to shop in-person for their holiday meals.

Good Eggs fielded its survey Aug. 28-29, 2020. 2,598 consumers completed all the questions, the retailer says.

“Grocery is moving online three to five times faster than the general shift to ecommerce that occurred between 2000 and 2020. And with 81% saying they’ll continue the practice, it’s clearly a sticky behavior change,” says Good Eggs CEO Bentley Hall.

The magnitude of grocery shoppers’ adoption of ecommerce since the pandemic started will change the grocery industry significantly, Hall says.

“The acceleration of the online grocery category has been all about convenience and safety during the pandemic,” Hall says. “However, it seems clear to us that long-term loyalty will be won by companies that speak to the values of their customers, not just their immediate needs. Trusted sourcing, peak quality food, and fair wages and good jobs are all ways brands can differentiate themselves and earn customers’ trust.”

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Lauren Freedman, a long-time ecommerce consultant who is now senior director of consumer insights for Digital Commerce 360, says the survey’s findings make sense and the high levels of online grocery adoption will likely continue after the pandemic has passed.

“Shoppers’ grocery needs will fluctuate based on circumstances,” Freedman says. “But regardless, they will continue to seek grocery buying solutions that are in-store and curbside based on convenience. A desire for time-savings will drive that behavior despite the downside risks that may be associated with it.”

Benefits and drawbacks

Even as consumers adopt online grocery buying, they realize web-based food shopping has both advantages and limitations.

Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed say they or one of the family members they live with are considered high-risk for contracting COVID-19. In addition to having their groceries delivered online, consumers are taking other precautions. Precautions cited most often by survey participants are: diligently washing fruits and vegetables (47%), wiping down every item (41%), and waiting for the delivery person to leave before getting their groceries (40%).

Aside from reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19, the most-cited benefits of shopping online are time savings (70%), reducing impulse purchases (51%) and making it easier to reorder the same foods regularly (42%).

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Despite the safety and convenience of online grocery shopping offers, respondents cited drawbacks as well. The most-cited downsides of online grocery shopping are the lack of available items or difficulty finding the things (45%), getting low-quality foods they wouldn’t have picked themselves (41%) and wrong orders (39%).

The top things respondents miss about shopping for groceries in stores are: discovering items that weren’t on their lists (cited by 62%), touching and selecting their produce (53%), and the ability to quickly pick up just one or two items (42%).

Good Eggs, founded in 2011, offers same-day delivery throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The retailer has raised $65.0 million across seven funding rounds from 18 investors since inception, according to Crunchbase data. The retailer’s most recent funding round was a $50.0 million Series C round on May 15, 2018, Crunchbase says. Good Eggs’ investors include Benchmark, Index Ventures, Obvious Ventures, S2G Ventures and Uprising Ventures.

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