New Research Shows Grocery Delivery Is Imperative Among Urban Shoppers

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New Research Shows Grocery Delivery Is Imperative Among Urban Shoppers

06/25/2019
Urban grocery shopper

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Grocery delivery is a service that increasingly offers a competitive edge due to the demand from urban grocery shoppers.

With residents of the top 50 most popular cities comprising nearly 16 percent of the total U.S population and city growth rates consistently beating out that of suburban and rural areas, the demographic is becoming more and more influential.

The preferences of urban shoppers vary significantly from those who live elsewhere, according to The Urban Grocery Shopper, the latest Hot Topic report from full-service sales and marketing agency Acosta.

"For urban grocery shoppers, crowded stores are the norm so convenience is a major priority," said Colin Stewart, senior vice president, business intelligence at Acosta. "City dwellers are more likely than suburban and rural shoppers to have groceries delivered, buy groceries at small neighborhood stores, pop into stores for pre-made offerings and dine out rather than make meals at home."

The report found that urban shoppers are 90 percent more likely than the average shopper to rank online ordering capabilities within the top three most important attributes for their grocery shopping experience.

Additionally, nearly 60 percent of urban shoppers reported buying groceries online for mail or door-to-door delivery vs. less than 30 percent of suburban and rural shoppers. Meanwhile, one in four urban shoppers stated that they ordered groceries online at least once per week.

Product size is a greater concern for city dwellers. More than half (56 percent) of urban shoppers reported buying bulky items, such as paper towels and diapers, online vs. 34 percent of suburban shoppers and 24 percent of rural shoppers.

The demographic exhibits unique purchasing behaviors, as it relies less on traditional grocery channels for key product groups. The majority of urban shoppers reported purchasing health and beauty and paper products somewhere other than mass merchandisers and traditional grocery stores.

These shoppers are also nearly twice as likely as suburban shoppers to buy condiments and frozen foods somewhere besides mass merchandisers and traditional grocery stores, and they utilize grocery stores' perimeter offerings more often than suburban and rural shoppers, with 56 percent reporting they made a trip to the store specifically for prepared foods within the past six months.

Key facts about the routines and challenges of brick-and-mortar shopping routines and challenges included:

  • Fifty-eight percent of urban shoppers reported often stopping for groceries on the way home from work or school, or to buy only what they need that night or the next day vs. 34 percent of suburban shoppers and 20 percent of rural shoppers.
  • Fifty-seven percent of urban shoppers were more likely than the average shoppers to rank easy-to-shop stores within their top three most important attributes for the grocery shopping experience.
  • Sixty-four percent of urban shoppers reported feeling grocery stores were usually crowded and time spent at checkout was too long vs. 51 percent of suburban shoppers and 44 percent of rural shoppers.

The Urban Grocery Shopper full report is available here.