Canadians love online shopping for things like clothes and electronics, but food? Forget it.
A new survey from global research firm Mintel found 88% of Canadian grocery shoppers have never shopped for groceries online and 68% are not interested in trying it.
Part of the reason for the low uptake is that few bricks-and-mortar grocery retailers actually offer ecommerce. However, the resistance to the service primarily stems from concerns around the freshness of products, according to Mintel.
“Produce in particular is so tactile,” said Carol Wong-Li, senior lifestyles and leisure analyst at Mintel in Toronto. “People are used to picking it up, feeling the weight, smelling to [determine] freshness. And that’s something they’re not able to do when they shop online.”
But it’s not all bad news. Of the 12% who have shopped for groceries online, most of them (8%) said they’d do it again. “That’s our glimmer of hope,” said Wong-Li. “And to that point, the appeal is higher among Asian Canadians [32%] who are more engaged with technology generally and higher smartphone ownership. We see this across categories and they do more online shopping.”
There’s also opportunity for grocers to target both younger shoppers: the appeal of online shopping is higher (26%) for the 45-and-under crowd. Additionally, the convenience of online grocery shopping is recognized by parents with children in the household (28%), those from larger households containing three or more people (25%) and those who are employed (24%).
“If grocery retailers are able to leverage that convenience factor, I think it will really drive [online grocery shopping], especially among younger people,” said Wong-Li. “They’re used to doing more click-and-collect shopping and they really see the conveniences.”
There’s also interest among shoppers in mobile apps. Nearly half (49%) of Canadian consumers are interested in the ability to redeem coupons and/or promotions using smartphone apps.
A version of this article first appeared on CanadianGrocer.com.