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Mobile is a key channel for the electronic shopping of US consumers

E-commerce will reach the point of representing 20% of food product sales in the United States by 2026

Online sales of food products in the US will be worth over 20% of the global market within the next five years, several years earlier than pre-pandemic projections

A Mercatus/Incisiv study forecast that this year e-commerce sales of food products will represent 9.5% of total food sales in the United States, which in 2021 reached $1,097 billion. In 2020, e-commerce sales in the US were worth 8.1% of the total, equal to $1,137 billion. Given the record-breaking figures of this year, it is expected that the market share occupied by digital will rise up to 11.1% out of $1,124 billion (2022) and up to 20.5% out of $1,285 billon in 2026.

According to estimates made during the pre-Covid period, sales of food products through the e-commerce channel should have reached 5.4% of the total market in 2021, up from 4.3% in 2020, to then go up to 6.8% in 2022 and 14.5% in 2026.

The new consumption behavior by now deeply rooted in US consumers and the greater convenience of online supermarkets will guarantee growth of online sales in the United States at a steady pace

The reason for the enormous income of the online food sector is twofold: American consumers were so conditioned by the health and safety problems linked to the pandemic that over 40% made online purchases in 2020, a figure 80% higher than 2018. It does not seem that this trend will stop any time soon, also because adoption of the new consumption model is continuing to grow with the re-opening of stores and slackened restrictions.

The data collected within the study limited to the United States is promising:

The click-and-collect model is becoming more and more popular as a preferred shopping method in the US

In the United States, home delivery of food products will progressively lose its popularity with consumers

Click-and-collect is a shopping method that gives the American consumer the chance to buy online to then stop by the selected store to pick up the order of food products.

This year home deliveries dropped off because a higher number of food product customers went back to completing their purchases in store. As regards digital consumers, 76% of those who purchase food products online has gravitated toward click-and-collect, 31% chose curbside pick-up and 24% continue to prefer home delivery.

The study then showed that Covid has changed the online food product shopping preferences of consumers in the United States.

Before the pandemic

During the peak of the pandemic

Today, with more extensive health conditions

It is even expected that home delivery will drop below the pre-pandemic levels. It is almost certain that three-quarters of all online orders will be dispatched through the stores, or through pick-up inside or outside the store. It suffices to say that adoption of home delivery among suburban families is 80% lower than US urban consumers. Besides, personalized delivery entails a higher cost and only 15% would be willing to pay an extra rate for this benefit.

Click-and-collect is the ideal solution for supermarkets and specialty food stores in the US

The food product pick-up services in store offer companies of the sector greater control over costs for managing online US consumers as compared to third-party delivery.

Customers in the US highly appreciate the precision, flexibility and convenience that the click-and-collect service offers. If performed well, the in store pick-up service offers a better overall shopping experience that allow long-lasting relationships with American consumers to be established, and in all probability they will repeat their purchases.

The return of US consumers to the physical stores is a precious indicator of the transformations that are taking place within the food product purchasing models in the US

No, e-commerce and mobile commerce of food products are not diminishing. Quite the opposite. The online sale of food products in the United States will offer more and more opportunities to those who own physical stores in the US and who want to increase sales over different channels.

Fertile times for food retail businesses operating on the American market are in store. Thanks to e-commerce, this might be able to intercept new US consumers who without the Internet might have never discovered them.

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