According to Nielsen online grocery shopping has increased by 15 percent in the past two years as consumers become more confident with buying both ambient and fresh groceries online.

The 2018 Nielsen Connected Commerce Report, which looks at consumers’ online purchasing habits, reported that 95 percent of global consumers who have access to the internet had made a purchase online, up 1 percent vs 2017 and up 2percent from 2016. The report also revealed 26% of digital consumers purchased fresh groceries online, an increase of 15 percent between 2016 and 2018, which is contributing to overall fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) e-commerce growth, which Nielsen estimates increased by around US$70 billion globally in the past two years.

Stalwart e-commerce categories fashion, travel and books continue to account for the largest proportion of online transactions (61 percent, 59 percent and 49 percent of consumers, respectively, purchased within the category). Meanwhile, the categories posting the most significant growth in e-commerce activity include restaurant deliveries, where 33 percent of online consumers said they made a purchase (up 2 points vs 2017), packaged groceries (up 3 points to 30 percent) and fresh groceries (up 2 points to 26 percent).

“From tracking the e-commerce evolution in pioneering countries like South Korea where online sales now account for a staggering 20 percent of the total FMCG sector, we know that consumers follow a certain pattern of online shopping behaviour,” observes Pete Gale, Retailer Services, Nielsen. “Travel, fashion and books are typical categories for first-time online shoppers, but as their familiarisation, comfort and trust levels increase, their category repertoire expands into areas like beauty, personal care and baby products, and then moves even wider afield to packaged and fresh grocery categories, and this is evidenced in the significant jump we’ve seen in online purchasing within grocery and food delivery in recent years.”

This Nielsen report reveals that consumers are more open to purchase packaged and fresh groceries online when they are offered certain purchasing options and quality assurances. Almost half (49%) of consumers said that money back guarantees for products not matching what was ordered would encourage them to buy online. A further 45 percent of consumers are enticed by same day product replacement service for products not available, while 44 percent are looking for free delivery services for purchases above a minimum spend.

“With the rise of consumer adoption in online purchasing, the continuously evolving e-commerce space has blurred the lines between online and offline,” notes Gale. “A few years ago, e-commerce purchase was focused on non-perishable goods such as travel, fashion and books but over time we are seeing a rise in purchases across new categories. Looking ahead, the next wave of evolution in online purchasing behaviour will likely be driven by innovations in digital capabilities like personalised recommendations based on programmatic consumption and online behaviour.”