CHICAGO -- The landscape of food retailing is changing. As the grocery channel grapples with an increasing number of obstacles standing between it and consistent growth, convenience-store retailers stand to gain from that changing landscape and the rise in purchasing power among younger demographics.
As some consultants and associations rush to study the effects of e-commerce on food retailing, others are watching how younger generations interact with the various retail channels vying for their attention.
Here's a look at four surprising grocery-shopping data points from recent studies ...
1. Millennial preferences
A recent study by the New York City-based International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found 74% of millennials buy groceries at convenience stores, topping the percentage that use Amazon or other online retailers (67%) or high-end supermarkets (66%).
"Millennials have been called the foodie generation and blend that with their command of technology," said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, "and we see some changes in grocery purchasing behaviors, which will drive all grocery retailers to make appropriate modifications in their business model to address the way they shop."
2. E-commerce trends
While the ICSC data indicates that consumers are choosing physical grocery locations over online, Brick Meets Click's Ecommerce Supermarket Scorecard shows online grocery growth is accelerating. The Barrington, Ill.-based consultancy, which focuses on the way digital technology is changing the shopping experience, found that 24% of shoppers bought groceries online in the last 30 days, which is up 22% from 2015.
"While some food retailers have moved cautiously into ecommerce, adoption is now accelerating, driven partly by the increased share of households who are regularly buying groceries online," said Steve Bishop, managing partner and co-founder of Brick Meets Click.
Other signs of acceleration, based on the Ecommerce Supermarket Scorecard Report: The average number of online transactions per store is up almost 20% from last year, and total online sales are growing year over year by more than 25%.
On the other side, ICSC found in its The State of Grocery Shopping survey that 99% of adults buy some or all of their groceries in brick-and-mortar locations, with only 1% solely shopping online.
3. When and where
Almost one out of four millennials, or 23%, shop three or more times a week for groceries, according to the ICSC report. And even when they order their items online, 81% of millennials go to the store to pick up their order.
Also, millennials shop at 5.9 different types of grocery stores, compared to 5.4 types for all shoppers.
4. Order fulfillment
How consumers receive grocery items varies. Currently, 66% of grocery stores offer order pickup, 2% offer delivery and 32% offer both, according to Brick Meets Click. When retailers offered both delivery and pickup, delivery was the most popular, with 74% of orders delivered in those cases vs. 26% picked up.
According to the ICSC study, 44% of consumers make purchases online and then pick them up in the store. More than four in 10 consumers, or about 44%, have their grocery purchases delivered to their homes, while 36% have items shipped by mail or courier service to their home. Fifty-four percent of the "high-end supermarket" shoppers who purchase groceries online have the retailer deliver to their homes, the highest of any type of online grocery shopper, according to the survey.