A booming business channel during the pandemic, online-pickup in-store is declining along with home delivery, according to a new survey from category growth design firm ChaseDesign.

By: Heather Lalley 

The demand for buy online-pickup in store grocery shopping that exploded during the pandemic appears to be ebbing.

That’s according to new research from category growth design firm ChaseDesign, which also found that home delivery of groceries purchased online is also slipping in favor of in-store shopping.

During the height of the pandemic, shoppers sought out the safety of online grocery ordering. But it appears that the convenience of that channel does not outweigh the cost premium, especially as inflationary pressures mount, the survey found.

With the pandemic receding, online shopping has now clearly become a convenience, and one that comes at a price premium,” the firm said in a statement. “The core of shopping trips remain in physical retail, where the vast majority of grocery purchases are still made.

Plus, consumers said they simply like the experience of shopping in a grocery store and they like having the freedom to choose their own items.

“This is driven by a lack of trust in having retailers pick and deliver exactly what the customer wants,” Joe Lampertius, ChaseDesign president, said in a statement.

Walmart had the best online grocery shopping experience, the research found, followed by Target, Costco and Whole Foods. Consumers also rated Walmart has having the most-improved online shopping experience overall.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • Consumer who said they buy online-pickup in-store all the time fell from 45% in 2020 to 32% last year, and it’s expected to decline further this year.
  • Shoppers who always use home delivery dropped by half, from 31% last year to 16% in 2022.
  • Online grocery shoppers tend to avoid categories like meat, seafood, produce, bakery and dairy, saying they prefer to select those items.
  • About a third of shoppers said they have issues with the quality of products selected for them.

And shoppers who do order online for pickup are getting antsy, the research found.

Ten percent more consumers complained about wasting time in their cars waiting for their orders than they did in 2021.

“If the retailers use that captive time … with some shopper engagement and improved impulse merchandising strategies, brands and retailers will be rewarded with a more-loyal customer and incremental purchases,” Lampertius said.

Source: Winsight Grocery Business