Digital’s increasing influence on grocery is disrupting the consumer path to purchase, creating new opportunities for consumer products companies that can look beyond the in-store experience.

In fact, digital influence on in-store grocery sales grew from 33% to 51% during the year, according to a 2017 Grocery Digital Divide survey, produced by New York-based Deloitte.

Digital now permeates the entire consumer path to purchase, influencing awareness, selection, purchase and loyalty:

  • Find inspiration. 77% of consumers surveyed used digital touch points to drive awareness.
  • Browse and research. 80% of shoppers surveyed have used a digital device to browse or research grocery products.
  • Select and validate. 19% of the time the use of digital increases grocery spending.
  • Purchase and pay. Consumers who embrace digital before or during a shopping experience end up converting 9% more frequently than those who do not use digital up to the purchase decision.
  • Reconsider. 29% of grocery consumers surveyed try products based on online recommendations or reviews.

Despite the growing digital influence on grocery, there’s still a divide between consumer’s ideal path to purchase and their current grocery shopping experience.

In comparison to 42% across other categories, only 33% of grocery shoppers believe that digital makes shopping easier. This gap suggests that there is significant growth potential for companies who can improve the digital grocery experience for consumers. The challenge lies in how to go about giving them the convenient, curated and integrated experience they desire.

Partnerships with retailers are important for consumer packaged goods companies, as they can provide new opportunities to drive brand engagement and accelerate organic growth.

Those who can adapt to bridge the digital divide and engage customers in store, online and via social channels stand to benefit from the growth in digital-hungry consumers. Those who don’t may leave money on the table.