From offering door-to-door grocery to same-day delivery through a variety of service modes, like drive-up pick-up, grocers are making shopping easier, and consumers are responding. The percentage of U.S. consumers, ages 18 and above, who shopped online for groceries within a 30-day period, whether for delivery or pick-up in store, increased from 17% in the quarter ending November 2018 to 20%, or about 51 million consumers, in the quarter ending February, according to National Eating Trends Omnichannel Scorecard., produced by the NPD Group, Chicago.

Of those who shop online for groceries from brick and mortar or pure-play online grocers, 16% order their food and beverages for delivery. The option to order online and pick-up in store, also known as click-and-collect or BOPUS (buy online pickup in store) is favored by 11% of online grocery shoppers. And, 7% of these shoppers mix it up and do both.

Delivery was the mode of choice for 16% of consumers who order groceries online. A behavior most developed among urban consumers with suburbanites coming in second and rural grocery shoppers third. The click-and-collect/BOPUS shopping behavior skews to adults, ages 18-44, households with kids and urban shoppers, who show a higher rate for this behavior than other shoppers overall, suburban shoppers show an average rate, and rural households are under-developed.

“Digital purchasing will accelerate in food retailing, just as it has in other retail sectors where we see much higher rates of online purchases,” says David Portalatin, food industry advisor and author of the report. “Still, the brick-and-mortar grocery store will always be a necessary means of acquiring foods, especially those where consumers place a premium on their sensory assessment to ensure quality, like meats, fruits and vegetables. This gives forward-thinking retailers and their vendor partners an opportunity to truly create an omnichannel experience for the consumer, and revolutionize the way we think about grocery merchandising.”