NEW YORK – The number of global consumers looking to buy food and beverages on-line has increased 44 percent during the past two years, according to a new study from Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights. The Nielsen Q1 2012 Global Survey of 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries found 26 percent of those surveyed planned to purchase food and beverage products by way of a device with Internet access, such as a computer, mobile phone or tablet, in the next three to six months.

Additionally, 61 percent of global respondents said they used the Internet for grocery shopping research.
By comparison, 25 percent of those surveyed said they planned to buy skin care and cosmetics; 29 percent planned to buy computer/game software; 30 percent entertainment tickets; 25 percent computer/game hardware; and 23 percent video/music. Approximately 20 percent said they planned to purchase electronic books and digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions, a new category added to the survey in 2012.

“While non-consumer packaged goods (CPG) products such as clothing, books and consumer electronics report the highest penetration for digital shopping intentions, on-line influence for CPG products is clearly growing,” said John Burbank, president of strategic initiatives at Nielsen. “Marketers need to determine which consumers are embracing digital for their grocery shopping needs so they can focus on the right shoppers with the right digital strategies to improve consumers’ on-line experience.”

Nielsen’s survey found 61 percent of global respondents indicated using the Internet for grocery shopping research in the past month, such as checking prices or reading a consumer review. Forty-five percent used the Internet to get information about a grocery product, 43 percent searched for deals, 33 percent read a grocery retailer’s promotional circular/flyer, 33 percent looked for coupons, 26 percent browsed a manufacturer web site, 18 percent provided feedback through social media and 11 percent used a digital shopping list.

“On-line shopping delivers key attributes shoppers demand, such as convenience, value and choice,” Burbank said. “However, the Internet and more specifically e-commerce, will be successful to varying degrees of impact on consumer packaged goods depending on the product category. For these CPG categories, shoppers are more likely to adopt a multi-channel approach, where online shopping becomes a supplement to traditional brick-and-mortar retailing.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of Digital’s Influence on Grocery Shopping was conducted Feb. 10–27, 2012, and polled more than 28,000 consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.