Research by the Wall Street Journal reveals that US online grocery shopping looks set to finally enter the mainstream as online grocery shopping becomes increasingly price-competitive. A buyer’s test involving 14 basic items across six cities reveals that online groceries were actually cheaper or roughly equivalent to in-store prices.
Online grocery shopping in the US has always remained a niche business due to limited selections and high costs – until now. An experiment by the Wall Street Journal across six cities reveals that online grocery shopping is starting to make sense as more grocers (Amazon, Walmart, Whole Foods to name but a few) undertake trials to expand online, making it more price-competitive for shoppers.
The Wall Street Journal’s experiment was based on 14 basic grocery items bought in both online stores and at mid-priced supermarkets. The findings reveal that in a few of these cities, online groceries were actually cheaper or roughly equivalent to going to the supermarket – even with their delivery charges.
“The biggest surprise from our experiment is that, in a few cities, online groceries, even with their delivery charges, were actually cheaper than or roughly equivalent to going to the supermarket. For a Walmart delivery in San Francisco, my test basket of groceries cost about 10% less than at the Safeway supermarket where I usually shop.”
The research also highlights the unique benefit of buying groceries online: price comparison across online stores, described by the Journal as a ‘superpower’:
“Online groceries gave me a new superpower: price comparison across stores. At my local supermarket, I am used to comparing the price of canned tomatoes across brands on the shelf. Online, I can quickly see Safeway charges $6.59 for a can of Cento San Marzanos, while Walmart.com stocks it for $3.48.”
US online grocery shopping is predicted to triple in value in the next 10 years to account for 11% of total US grocery spending by 2023 – up from its current 3.3%. Ensuring you are price competitive online will inevitably drive the channel shift, with The Wall Street Journal concluding that ‘the days are numbered where people who feel comfortable doing their shopping on a phone app still buy their groceries at a supermarket’.
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