Digital is sparking change in every market segment, and grocery is no exception. That's the overarching takeaway from the inaugural Grocery Digital Maturity Benchmark study, which was conducted by Incisiv, West New York, N.J., and Winsight Grocery Business, a unit of Technomic, Chicago.

The report provides a global assessment of grocery retailers' digital performance and identifies areas of improvement and investment for 80 large retailers in the United States and Europe.

The study also takes a sweeping view of digital grocery sales platforms in conventional grocery stores, hypermarkets, discount/cash-and-carry stores and warehouse clubs. Some 120 attributes and 10,000 data points were captured across the four make-it-or-break-it stages of the customer journey, including research and discovery, ease of ordering, order fulfillment and customer engagement and service.

While online grocery sales remain relatively new, the study forecasts annual digital grocery sales to surpass $150 billion by 2025, growing 26% on a year-over-year basis. Digital grocery sales, meanwhile, are pegged to reach 13.5% of total U.S. grocery sales in 2024.

"Grocers need only look at the growth of Amazon in the grocery segment to see the importance of attaining increased digital maturity," says Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer of Incisiv.

Meanwhile, grocers will increase their focus on achieving lift in total in-store spend, growing visits and driving loyalty with mobile-centric shoppers.