81% Who Bought Groceries Online During Pandemic Will Continue to Do So

81% Who Bought Groceries Online During Pandemic Will Continue to Do So

Time savings cited as top benefit beyond safety
A grocery delivery

While many consumers turned to grocery delivery services to protect against transmission of COVID-19, some may have cultivated a lifelong habit.

More than 8 in 10 (81%) consumers who ordered groceries online during the pandemic said they will continue to do so even when the coronavirus outbreak is a memory, according to a new survey by grocery delivery service Good Eggs.

Not only have consumers found that grocery delivery services provide safety, but many have discovered other benefits as well.

The perks of grocery delivery services

Since March of this year, 68% of survey respondents bought groceries online. On top of that, 43% said they order groceries online for delivery two or more times each month.

While an earlier survey found that as many as 9 in 10 consumers were hesitant to shop in brick-and-mortar stores because of coronavirus fears during the pandemic, the Good Eggs survey found other perks related to delivery services:

  • 70% said online grocery shopping saves time
  • 51% said they make fewer impulse purchases when they shop online
  • 42% said it’s easier for them to reorder items they use regularly
  • 35% said they can more easily shop from multiple stores
  • 25% said online grocery shopping helps them to eat healthier

However, the news for brick-and-mortar grocery retailers isn’t necessarily grim. In addition to buying groceries online and having them delivered, 71% of respondents said they are also going in stores at times to buy groceries, and 47% said they are ordering groceries and driving to the store for curbside pickup.

Grocery delivery has its downsides

Survey respondents also pointed out some drawbacks of using online grocery delivery services:

  • 45% said having difficulty finding items they want online
  • 41% said getting poor-quality foods delivered that they would not have picked out themselves
  • 39% said having the wrong items delivered or having items missing from their order
  • 31% said having difficulty getting a convenient time for delivery
  • 14% said having their order delivered late

By and large, the biggest thing consumers miss about going to the grocery store in person is discovering items that were not on their list. In fact, 62% said they miss making those unplanned, impulse purchases.

However, that doesn’t mean online grocery shopping is saving consumers money. More than half of all shoppers — 60% — said they are spending more money on groceries now than they did before the pandemic. Nearly a quarter — 24% — said they are spending significantly more on groceries than before the COVID-19 crisis. However, that increased grocery spend may be replacing what people were spending on dining out pre-pandemic.

When asked what they miss about the in-store shopping experience, 42% of online grocery shoppers said they miss being able to quickly pick up one or two things. Instead, some consumers may feel that using a grocery delivery service is only practical if you are buying a lot of products.

Also, 36% of online grocery shoppers said they miss using coupons and savings cards in stores, which suggests they are not able to use them online.

For those who are spending more on groceries these days, it may make sense to check out a credit card that awards cash back for grocery shopping. Doing so could save money in the long run.

Methodology: Good Eggs surveyed 2,598 consumers between Aug. 28-29, 2020.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.