April 11, 2018

More than six out of 10 Canadian online grocery shoppers shop at Amazon. The nearest food chain comes a distant third.

In a survey that sheds some light on the impact the world’s largest online company is having on the grocery business, 62 per cent of Canadians who buy their groceries online say they buy them at Amazon.

The survey, conducted March 13-16 by Vancouver-based research company NRG, said Amazon is way out in front as the online grocer of choice, followed by Walmart at 37 per cent. The closest traditional grocery retailer is Loblaw’s in third place at 23 per cent.

“Traditional grocers should be worried when Amazon and Wal-Mart already rank first and second for online grocery shopping,” said NRG VP Sandra Kesselman, who conducted the survey. “Amazon alone had a bigger percentage of online shoppers than all the traditional grocers combined.”

Ms. Kesselman added that if there was any doubt about the popularity of online shopping, 89 per cent of the people responding to the survey say they shop online. And more than a third of the online shoppers (31 per cent) buy groceries online; 23 per cent of those shop online as their main method of grocery shopping. An additional 27 per cent who don’t shop for groceries online say they are willing to do so in the near future.

Convenience is the number one reason for the online grocery shopping spree, mentioned by 79 per cent of the online grocery shoppers surveyed. That was followed closely by price (74 per cent), time-saving (74 per cent), a wide product assortment (71 per cent), ease of comparing items (69 per cent), and home delivery (63 per cent).

Personal care and canned goods led the list of items shopped for, tied with 51 per cent each. Fresh goods were further down the list, with fresh meat and seafood coming next to last at 20 per cent.

For those on the brink of buying their groceries online, 60 per cent said they might be influenced by the promise of free home delivery, followed by 54 per cent who might be interested by more competitive prices.

These results are from a provincially-representative Canada-wide study of 1,004 online respondents conducted by NRG Research Group from March 13 to 16, 2018. NRG purchased online panel sample from Research Now, a long-established, reputable research panel provider with an extensive panel list numbering over half a million panelists in Canada. The poll was conducted in English and French. Results were weighted to reflect the actual age and gender distribution in each region.

Since the research is conducted online using panel sample, it is considered to be a non-probability sample and therefore, margins of error are not applicable. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of a survey size of 1,000 cases with this sample plan would carry a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.2 percent, 19 times out of 20 for the total sample.

Andrew Enns