The consumer products industry this year has produced frenetic and unexpected changes for everyone. Among them, many businesses have been very attentive to the trends of eCommerce and recognize that online shopping is a new reality. Still, there are doubts about what will happen after the pandemic.
Ecommerce grocery sales
As we approach the year 2021, it is worth reflecting on this phenomenon. What has been the pandemic’s growth, and what can we expect for 2021 about online grocery shopping?
Driven by consumer habits of staying home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Rabobank International forecasts that online grocery sales may reach 6.4% of total sales by the end of 2021. According to the forecast published in June without COVID- 19, sales at online grocery stores would have accounted for 4.6% of sales by the end of 2021.
“While our model suggests that a wide range of outcomes is possible, we believe that the direct long-term impact of the pandemic on US online grocery sales will be quite modest, and the most likely scenario will lead to a 12-year period. 18 months of acceleration in the penetration of online supermarkets compared to a scenario in which the pandemic never occurred, ”the report said.
“Even if the growth of COVID-19 is short-lived, we believe the recent increase in focus and investment in e-commerce is justified. While there are exceptions, many food and beverage companies have stalled e-commerce investments for so long that there is little risk of over-turning, “the report added.
According to Rabobank, getting consumers to “log in” and complete their first order is the biggest hurdle to growing the online grocery business. Bad user experiences came early in the pandemic as supermarkets scrambled to increase their ability to offer online shopping.
“Consumers who have had the luck or the patience to obtain a delivery or pickup window are plagued with out of stock, replacements, and delays,” says the report. Rabobank International cited a survey from the IMF – The Food Industry Association showing that baby boomers will be the least likely to continue shopping for groceries online.
When asked how their online grocery purchases will change once the pandemic is over, 10% of baby boomers said they would buy more food online, compared with 35% of Gen X, 40% of millennials, and 34% of Gen Z.
The percentages for buying fewer groceries online once the pandemic subsides were 20% for baby boomers, 10% for Gen X, 16% for millennials, and 22% for Gen Z.
Although the pandemic has undoubtedly boosted online sales, the long-term forecast is for a moderate effect in terms of accelerating penetration in supermarkets. Even with this growth, the focus and investment in e-commerce are considered justified.