Point and click grocery shopping on the rise

by Bryan Salvage
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SADDLE RIVER, NJ - Online grocery sales could top $123 billion per year in the next decade, according to Steve Bishop of Brick Meets Click. A growing number of consumers grocery shopping online are projected to generate between $80 billion and $123 billion by 2023, based on a Food Institute webinar, "Get In On The Growth of Online Shopping," held Oct. 1. If this prediction holds true, at the middle of those two projections online grocery sales would exceed today's sales of the nation's largest supermarket chain, Kroger.

For 2014, online grocery sales are estimated by BMC to be about $27 billion. Since online sales will increasingly cannibalize in-store sales, Bishop suggested traditional brick-and-mortar grocers respond accordingly.

"The question and opportunity is who will capture the growing online sales. Will the in-store lost sales be recaptured and offset by your online channel or lost to the competition? It's a good time to step up your online game," Bishop said

Currently accounting for about 4 percent of market-level spending, online grocery store sales are expected to account for between 11 percent and 17 percent of the total over the next decade. Some major markets, such as New York and San Francisco, could exceed that level while others may fall below that 11 percent figure, where there is less invested online, Bishop added.

PJ Stafford, co-president of Honest Green, the eCommerce division of United Natural Foods, offered suggestions to manufacturers looking to enter or expand in the online arena. He noted Amazon's growing importance in this sector as it reaches 62 million grocery shoppers each month and 52 percent of consumers who have bought canned or packaged goods online.

Brick Meets Click, is a retail consultancy founded in 2011 by Bill Bishop and Steve Bishop.

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