Price Trumps Speed in Online Grocery, New Study Shows

Survey finds male customers, large households invaluable to e-commerce


By Jennifer Strailey, Winsight Grocery Business

Sep. 14, 2020


Traditional grocery stores offering e-commerce should emphasize price over speed to best play to their strengths in a market-share battle with Amazon, a new report asserts.


The study, commissioned by microfulfillment technology company Takeoff Technologies, examines the balance between “cost to serve” and “willingness to pay,” finding that price is the most important driver for online grocery adoption; expansive variety has limited value to the customer; and speed is the least important variable, provided groceries are available same day.


The analysis of more than 1,000 Americans, who are the primary grocery shoppers for their households, further found that “a curated selection offered for same-day curbside pickup at a 5% discount could grab a significant share. But, we also discovered that over a third of our respondents would still prefer to continue going to the store rather than switch to an online model,” writes Timothy Laseter, a professor at the University of Virginia and author of the “How to Win in Grocery” report.


To explore the potential levers for driving higher and lasting online adoption by grocery shoppers, the study classified grocery shoppers surveyed into six segments that cover two broad categories: “traditionalists” and “online adopters.”


The traditional­ist group, it explains, makes up just under 45% of shoppers and breaks into two segments based upon the frequency they go to the grocery store. A similar number of shoppers, repre­senting around 46%, actively shop online. This group was further broken into three segments. The re­maining set of about 9% of shoppers rarely shop online or at the grocery store. This set was deemed unimportant to the bottom line.


A Closer Look at “Traditionalists” ...


A Closer Look at “Online Adopters”  ...


The Male Shopper and Larger Households Make Good Customers ...


Price vs. Speed ...