Here’s what shoppers would rather buy in-store vs. online

Convenience means different things to different demographic groups, a new report from Numerator found.
Online vs. in-store grocery shopping
Grocery shoppers have different meanings for the word "convenience." / Photo: Shutterstock

More than three-quarters (77%) of shoppers said it’s more convenient to buy perishable food and beverages in-store instead of online, according to a new report from research firm Numerator.

Numerator’s latest “Mythbusters” report, released Wednesday, found that convenience means different things to different shoppers—but most everyone is looking for a convenient shopping experience.

In fact, 82% of shoppers surveyed said convenience is extremely or very important to them. But 87% of Millennials stressed the importance of convenience, while only 77% of Baby Boomers said the same.

“When ranked alongside other shopping considerations, convenience comes in at No. 3, behind price and quality; this holds true across all generational segments,” Chicago-based Numerator said.

Besides perishable food and beverages, 74% of shoppers said it’s more convenient to buy frozen or refrigerated food and beverages in-store, and 49% praised the convenience of buying non-perishable food and beverages in person. Just 39%, however, said it is more convenient to buy personal care products in the store and 32% liked the convenience of picking up pet food and supplies in-store.

The word “convenience,” though, brings up many different meanings. Some shoppers surveyed said it means being able to buy things close to home, all in one place. Others said they prefer being able to grab something quickly and not having to make a trip to a big box retailer.

Store location plays the biggest role in convenience, with 70% rating it as a factor. Location was followed closely by “easy to find what I am looking for” at 69%, which is tied with fast checkout. Sixty-four percent of consumers said the ability to get items quickly signaled convenience, with 58% citing an easy-to-navigate store-website, 54% noting convenient shopping times, 53% pointing to wide product availability, 48% liking easy to find/use coupons, 46% preferring self-checkout, and 44% saying easy-to-return items are a key convenience factor.

“Younger shoppers place more emphasis on stores within walking distance or located along a public transportation route,” the report said, noting that Gen Z shoppers are 20% more likely to live in urban areas and 45% less likely to own a vehicle.

Depending on their age, shoppers find different elements of convenience in online shopping, the survey said.

“Gen Z shoppers are more likely to find online shopping convenient because they’re able to use promotional codes or coupons easily, something often included with social media ads or influencer marketing,” Numerator noted. “Meanwhile, Millennials and Gen X turn to online for timing flexibility and delivery or pickup options. Boomers find customer service and home delivery the most-convenient aspects of online shopping.”




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