A food awakening: shopping online for groceries is here to stay

A food awakening: shopping online for groceries is here to stay

The grocery industry is ripe for disruption as Irish consumers flock online in the new digital economy

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28th November, 2021

The PayPal Grocery Trends Study 2021 – which surveyed 1,000 Irish consumers – contains insights for food and grocery retailers. While consumers have expressed fears about the coronavirus, commerce will continue to expand.

There is a growing appetite for more online food, grocery and meal kit ordering. With the PayPal Grocery Trends Study revealing that 46 per cent of people in Ireland plan to purchase at least part of their food and groceries for Christmas dinner online this year, it is clear that the grocery industry is ripe for disruption and that consumers are embracing the digital economy.

Changing consumer appetites

E-commerce has altered customer shopping behaviour and transformed the Irish retail landscape from brick and mortar to omnichannel. Grocers have remained largely immune to digital disruption until recently.

Until relatively recently, the grocery sector in Ireland has remained sheltered from the forces of e-commerce for a couple of reasons: most Irish shoppers used to prefer to choose their own food (especially meat, produce and other perishable goods), and few grocers invested in e-commerce channels to sell their produce and items online. That is changing.

According to the research, the past year has seen a marked shift in online food and grocery shopping, with more than a third (35 per cent) of consumers shopping for groceries online for home delivery more often. Some 23 per cent shopped for groceries online with fast delivery or same-day delivery options more often.

Other new behaviours have also been emerging: 22 per cent of respondents used click-and-collect for the first time, and 25 per cent ordered meal kits to prepare at home for the first time.

It’s not just food for preparing at home that is rising in popularity, as nearly half (44 per cent) of consumers ordered food online or via an app from restaurants for home delivery more often than before the pandemic. Some 40 per cent ordered for pick-up from restaurants more often.

This increase in online ordering is causing a spike in the dominance of digital transactions, with almost two thirds increasing their use of online payment services like PayPal. Eighteen per cent used digital payment methods for the first time.

Joachim Goyvaerts, director for Benelux and Ireland at PayPal, said this reflected the reality of contemporary life, with changes in consumer behaviour showing signs of persisting after the pandemic passes.

“Online grocery shopping has become a critical convenience for people, not only during a pandemic but as part of our regular, busy lives. E-commerce has always been about giving consumers a convenient way to buy what they want, when they want and being able to pay for that how they want.”

While restrictions and lockdowns are temporary, some of these changes in patterns appear to be here to stay as people reveal what habits they will continue. Some 92 per cent intend to continue ordering food online or via mobile apps for home delivery in the future.

More than three-quarters also plan to keep shopping for groceries online for home delivery, while same-day delivery is a preferred approach going forward for 80 per cent of respondents.

“The grocery industry is ripe for disruption in this new digital economy,” Goyvaerts said. “Part of the disruption will take place in how supermarkets and grocers choose to give their customers a seamless and safe shopping experience across all channels – online, mobile and in-store. It’s time for grocers to improve their platforms, delivery and payment options while making online order fulfilment more efficient.”

People are also seeing the benefits of different payment methods too, with 95 per cent saying they will use online payments going forward. Meanwhile, 76 per cent desire to use QR Codes for transactions in the future.

Saving time and the planet

Saving time and sourcing environmentally friendly products are a key focus.

While the pandemic has been the driving force behind these trends, other factors are at play, with stress, cost, local employment and environmental concerns polling high among respondents.

Some 62 per cent think shopping for groceries online helps to save time, while costs were a key factor for 71 per cent who said they were looking for the best deals offered by different providers when placing online orders.

Supporting local businesses and good causes is also proving important to Irish consumers, with 63 per cent preferring to shop through mobile apps or on websites that support stores in their neighbourhood and 62 per cent tending to choose products that are sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly.

For more information, see

https://newsroom.ie.paypal-corp.com/

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