The internet is quickly becoming the virtual grocery store for many U.S. consumers, with 52 million currently grocery shopping online, according to new study from The NPD Group, Chicago. In fact, the report, “The Virtual Grocery Store. ,” says that 20 million consumers who are current, lapsed or new to online grocery shopping plan to increase their virtual shopping for foods and beverages over the next six months.  

Although online grocery shopping lags other e-commerce industries in terms of development, the fundamental shift in the country’s demographics is one of the reasons there is now greater adoption of shopping for foods and beverages online.  Among the key groups favoring online grocery shopping are the younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Zs, who were born into the tech era.

Those who shop online for groceries do so with a good deal of satisfaction, reports NPD. Over 60% are completely satisfied by the experience, a mere 6% are neutral or dissatisfied and the others are somewhat satisfied. Convenience is the top driver of satisfaction, but online grocery shoppers also like the delivery options and shipping deals, the infinite assortment and tax advantages.  

“Food and beverage manufacturers should monitor the quickly changing landscape with respect to grocery delivery services and online retailers to ensure their products are part of the assortment where it matters,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Brick-and-mortar retailers also need to adjust to ensure they’re not losing out with younger tech-savvy consumers. Now is the time to start developing e-commerce programs or to expand your current services. Whether a manufacturer or retailer, now is the time to act while shoppers are experimenting and there is significant growth on the horizon.”