Good Eggs announced the results of its national consumer survey, Online Grocery Shopping During Covid-19. The findings provide insight into the perspectives and behaviors of people when it comes to grocery shopping online during the pandemic. Additionally, the findings reveal insights into PPE safety, and how the grocery wars are evolving.
The Grocery Wars Move Online, And It’s Complicated
While people are shopping online for groceries from multiple stores, when it comes down to it, Walmart comes out on top with 56%. Amazon Prime/Whole Foods came in at #2 with 50%, and Instacart and regional traditional grocery stores (Safeway, Wegmans, etc.) with their own online delivery tie for third with 23% respectively.
However where people are shopping may have more to do with availability and convenience rather than true preference, as the #1 values-based thing most important to people when choosing a company for online grocery is how the company treats their employees. Where Amazon/Whole Foods does rank #1 is with the poor reputation it has regarding its treatment (pay, benefits, safety) of essential employees during the pandemic. Walmart follows as being perceived as the second worst, with Trader Joes coming third.
“Two things are clear – the shift to online grocery has accelerated, and too many customers are still forced to make compromises and settle when feeding their families,” said Bentley Hall, CEO of Good Eggs. “There is an enormous market opportunity for companies like Good Eggs who can deliver convenience, peak quality, and have authentic values. Customers are eager to move beyond the services that appear to be increasingly indifferent about their people and the integrity of their food.”
How We’re Now Shopping, Spending & Cooking
While the weekly and monthly frequency of how often people buy groceries has not been impacted by COVID-19, other grocery shopping habits have been impacted. Good Eggs’ survey found that, since March 2020, 68% of people have bought groceries online for delivery, with 43% buying groceries online for delivery 2x or more each month. Interestingly, even with many people having groceries delivered it’s not the only way they are buying groceries. Seventy-one percent of people are also buying groceries in-store, 47% are ordering them for curbside pickup, and 17% are supplementing with meal kits.
Additionally, 60% of people are spending more on groceries now than before COVID-19, with 24% spending significantly more. What people are buying has changed as well. The top two categories people are purchasing more of include snack foods (44%) and pantry staples (39%). After that, there’s a four-category dead heat between produce, baking ingredients, lunch food/ingredients, and eggs each coming in at 30%.
The #1 thing shoppers say they are buying less of? Prepared foods (24%). In fact, 75% of people say their eating and cooking habits have changed since the pandemic began. From this 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.
The Good, The Bad, and What We Miss the Most
An adjustment for many, the benefits of the shift to shopping online appear to outweigh the negatives. Those surveyed say the #1 benefit, aside from reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19, is time savings (70%). Fifty-one percent say it helps them reduce impulse purchases, and 42% say it makes it easy for them to reorder the same foods regularly.
However, there are things that consumers miss about in-store shopping, and they’ve experienced some negatives as well. What people miss the most about in-store shopping includes discovering items that weren’t on their lists (62%), touching and selecting their own produce (53%), and the ability to quickly pick up just one or two items (42%). The downside of shopping online includes the lack of available items or difficulty finding the items they want (45%), getting poor quality foods they wouldn’t have picked themselves (41%), and receiving the wrong items in, or having items missing from, their orders (39%).
It’s a Matter of Safety
Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed say that either they or one of the family members they live with are considered high-risk for contracting COVID-19. With this in mind, it makes sense that they are taking additional precautions with their groceries when it comes to protecting against COVID-19, even many months into this pandemic. The top three precautions they are taking in addition to having their groceries delivered online include more diligently washing fruits and vegetables (47%), wiping down every item (41%), and waiting for the delivery person to leave before getting their groceries (40%).
However, only 32% say they see their grocery delivery people wearing PPE (masks and gloves) 100% of the time. Another 46% report that they see their grocery delivery people wearing PPE between 50 and 99% of the time.
The Holidays, and Beyond
Everyone has their favorite holiday foods and traditions, but this year the pandemic will likely impact them. With the holidays approaching, 25% say they will use grocery delivery to buy everything they need for their holiday meals. Fifty percent will buy items both via grocery delivery and in-store, and 25% plan to shop in-person for their holiday meals. However, of shoppers that buy their groceries online 2x a month or more, 34% say they will use grocery delivery to buy everything they need for their holiday meals.
After the pandemic is over, whenever that might be, 81% of those who have ordered groceries online for delivery say they will continue to do so, with 43% still doing so but not as often, and 38% ordering them just as often as they are now. Of those who already order online groceries for delivery 2x a month or more 45% say they will order them just as often as they are now.