Is the Web Stealing Your Beverage Sales?

Report shows 79% of all online grocery baskets include beverage products, with additional growth anticipated

WINOOSKI, Vt. -- Is online grocery shopping putting a dent in convenience stores’ beverage traffic? It certainly appears so, according to research by MyWebGrocer (MWG). beverage market online shopping share

The Winooski, Vt.-based digital-marketing-solutions provider said 79% of all online grocery baskets include beverage products, and water, milk, orange juice and coffee rank high among the top keywords searched while shopping online.

“The beverage category is 8% bigger online than in-store,” a recent report said, “showing strong affinity for this new channel.”

Milk and soda account for 47% of online beverage sales, according to MWG ecommerce sales for calendar year 2015.

“Online shoppers make large stock-up trips online and buy both nonrefrigerated and refrigerated beverages,” the company said, encouraging beverage brands—MWG’s primary clients—to partner with online retailers to improve merchandising, promotions and top-of-mind awareness among e-commerce shoppers.

During 2015, the beverage categories that saw the biggest growth in online sales were:

  • Bottled water +17.8%
  • Iced tea +15.2%
  • Energy drinks +14.4%
  • Alcohol beverages +12.9%
  • Sports drinks +11.1%
  • Soda +10.9%
  • Milk +9.3%

Within the milk category, one that has suffered in c-stores in recent years, whole milk sales grew 22% online in 2015, according to MWG’s data, compared to a 2% unit-sales decline in c-stores, according to IRI, Chicago. Within juices, online lemonade sales grew 13%, according to the data, compared to 9% unit growth in c-stores.

And there’s reason to believe online beverage sales will continue to outpace in-store volumes, according to the report.

“The beverage category overall is not keeping pace with the growth in e-commerce,” the company said, noting that online beverage sales increased 10.9% from 2014 to 2015, while overall e-commerce grew 15%, suggesting there’s plenty of room to continue to increase online sales of beverages.

MyWebGrocer is a provider of ecommerce and digital marketing solutions to the grocery and consumer-packaged-goods industries.


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