According to a Supermarket News story published yesterday, industry experts say that both consumers and retailers are becoming more comfortable with online grocery ordering. As a result, online grocery sales could be poised for significant gains in 2017.
Brick Meets Click CEO Bill Bishop cited his company's research indicating that active online grocery users nearly doubled from 11% of households in 2013, to 21% of households in 2015. Furthermore, he expects that usage may have doubled again since then.
According to Bishop, growth factors include the increasing availability of the offerings, new features available to consumers from more online providers, lower prices fueled by increased competition, and a customer base that's learning how to more efficiently use the services offered.
Robin Michel, a veteran of the grocery industry, said that retailers are "plowing ahead" in pursuit of online grocery despite their reservations about its profitability. On the other hand, independent and midsized operators have been slow to enter the fray, as they worry about the costs involved, the return on investment, and the impact it may have on their store operations.