New data from the cooling technology leader reveals how US consumers and retailers are approaching online and in-store grocery shopping this holiday season and beyond
DURHAM, NC, November 21, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Phononic, a global leader in sustainable cooling technology, today announced new survey findings that highlight the current attitudes and behaviors of consumers and retailers towards grocery shopping, with a focus on curbside pickup and delivery of fresh and/ or frozen food. Phononic’s “The State of Online Grocery Shopping 2022: This Holiday & Beyond,” conducted by Regina Corso Consulting, surveyed more than 1,200 US consumers and grocery retailers to learn more about their needs and concerns around grocery shopping. The results show a rapidly evolving landscape in grocery e-commerce and fulfillment, highlighting consumer trust issues, food safety, inflation and sustainability.
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Just over 50% of US consumers have returned to in-store shopping year-round. During the busier holiday season, however, that figure increases: 70% of consumers surveyed in Phononic’s “The State of Online Grocery Shopping: This Holiday and Beyond” expect to go in-store for their holiday meal and/or holiday party groceries. The same amount of consumers – 7 in 10 – stated that they would order more fresh and/or frozen food with their grocery delivery if they felt confident that these foods would arrive still fresh and/or frozen. These findings show that – especially when it comes to the year’s most memorable meals – consumers have yet to fully trust retailers to deliver their most important fresh and/or frozen grocery items.
Retailers seem to agree with them: 89% of those surveyed admit that they are concerned about keeping their food fresh and/or frozen at curbside pick-up and delivery over the critical holiday season and beyond, further acknowledging a lack of equipment and cold chain technology needed to address this problem.
Despite these findings, 84% of retailers expect their online grocery operations to increase in the next year. This is likely due to the high demand for delivery and pick-up among two of the largest resident populations in the US: Millennials and Gen Z. Although Baby Boomers and Gen X may currently be driving in-store shopping (83% and 79% , respectively), it’s likely that retailers anticipate that the online grocery delivery and curbside pick-up trend will continue to expand along with the continued growth of the younger generations.
While there is foreseen growth in the sector, the survey reveals that those who are currently shopping online believe that there is plenty of room for improvement regarding product quality and safety, cost, and sustainability.
This holiday season, most consumers say they will get most of their groceries for holiday meals and/or holiday parties in-store, hinting consumers don’t quite have full trust in the retailers to deliver desired items for the year’s most memorable meals, in a fresh, timely and efficient manner.
The majority of retailers admit they are concerned about keeping their curbside pick-up food fresh and/or frozen while waiting for pick-up this holiday season, further acknowledging a lack of equipment and tech needed to address this problem.
Whether shopping in-store or ordering online, consumers care deeply about food quality and freshness, speed of delivery, and sustainability. A majority – 84% of retailers – see the clear need to provide this for them.
This holiday season specifically, 85% of retailers worry about keeping food safe for the online delivery and curbside pick-up customers.
Nearly 60% of retailers said they need to be able to better put produce, meat, dairy, and frozen items in cold boxes while shopping.
67% of retailers see this and are planning to spend between $500K – $1.5M on cold chain technology and/or fulfillment next year.
53% of retailers are very concerned about keeping shelves stocked and being able to keep prices where they are and not have to raise them due to inflation for the upcoming holiday season.
Nearly half of Americans say, with rising prices, they find themselves shopping online more for groceries to better compare costs and 67% say shopping online keeps them from in-store impulse purchases which also drive-up costs.
88% of retailers are concerned about staffing for all departments including management of curbside pickup and delivery.
70% of consumers say they consider sustainability, such as delivery, when it comes to groceries and grocery shopping.
Nearly 100% of retailers say, as an industry, they need to come up with better sustainability initiatives beyond packaging. However, what that something needs to be is not clear to them.
“As grocery retailers further invest in improving their online delivery options, cooling technology solutions that ensure food safety for fresh and/or frozen food and a strong ROI throughout the entire operation are critical,” said Dana Krug, SVP and General Manager at Phononic. “The challenges that our new survey highlights – notably, concerns around consumer trust, food safety, inflation, and sustainability – show that there’s a real opportunity for retailers to strengthen their operations and address these needs. With cold chain technology slated to be a multimillion -dollar investment for nearly a third of retailers surveyed over the coming year, identifying more sustainable solutions such as solid state cooling technology can offer game-changing results for both retailers and consumers. Retailers that can tackle these issues while considering a sustainable way to do so, will claim – and keep – their stake in this fast-evolving sector of the industry.”
Implementing a solid state cooling solution can help retailers meet sustainability goals. Phononic’s Actively-Cooled Tote platform and solution uses naturally-occurring CO2 and water as its refrigerant, providing a non-toxic, low carbon footprint option for retailers and their cold chain partners.
Adds Krug, “Implementing solid state cooling solutions such as ours has the potential to revolutionize the industry – delivering a much higher ROI for retailers and ultimately helping consumers feel a much greater trust in the quality of their fresh and frozen food.”
Learn more about this new research from Phononic here.
As the global leader in solid state cooling technology, Phononic is driving the world to a more sustainable way to cool. Its transformational technology reduces greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions and supports climate goals, while meeting the demanding performance needs of the market. The company’s thermoelectric devices and integrated products are mission critical to how people work and communicate; automobiles ‘this’; the protection and effective delivery of life-saving vaccines and drugs; last mile solutions supporting e-commerce; and innovative methods to cool living and workspaces.
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Kellie Woods, PAN Communications