E-Commerce Is Finally Beginning To Eat Into The Massive Supermarket Business, Starting With Gourmet And Health Foods

E-commerce has yet to prove that it can make a serious dent in the $US600 billion a year grocery industry in the U.S., but one promising opportunity is in selling specialty foods, including gourmet, health-conscious, ethnic, or otherwise hard-to-find food and beverage items.

The move toward e-commerce coincides with greater consumer interest in these niche categories. This is an important trend for consumer packaged good brands, many of whom have bought specialty brands in recent years.

The chart above comes from a new study from BI Intelligence, on how e-commerce may finally begin to gain market share from offline shopping in the grocery market.

We also found that concierge shopping and subscription prepared meals are persuading consumers to buy groceries online, as are same-day delivery services.

Here are some of our findings related to groceries:

  • E-commerce has the advantage of offering a large depth and breadth of products. Only 15% of U.S. adults have purchased general food items online, but 25% said they have bought specialty food and beverages online, which are hard to find elsewhere. That’s according to a new survey from Harris Interactive.
  • Consumers are also relatively open to buying specialty food items online. Among U.S. adults, only 57% said they prefer to buy specialty food and beverage items in-person compared to 78% who said so about general groceries.

This suggests that e-commerce companies can compete against legacy grocers on selection of products, and depth of offerings.

BI Intelligence is a subscription tech research service, covering the e-commerce, payments, and digital media industries. For full access to all our downloadable charts and reports, sign up for a free trial.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.