2020 was more than the year of the pandemic. With consumers working from home and financial concerns rising, there was a silent revolution in many arenas. And food brands and retail stores continue to see the maximum impact. At Whisk, we’ve rounded up some key food trends and statistics that affect grocery shopping now — and will change things up in the future as well.

Want more detailed predictions on what to look forward to in the new year? Check out the CEO of Whisk, Nick Holzherr’s Food Predictions for 2021.

Rise of the Omnichannel Experience

  • Shoppers visit an average of 4.4 banner stores a month and 3.1 online channels. — FMI
  • 73% of consumers are using a mix of physical stores, e-commerce, digital apps, social commerce, and marketplace platforms to buy products, adding to the competitive mix and complexity. — Deloitte
  • Omnichannel spending for the group ages 44 to 64 specifically grew about $20 billion over the past two years — faster than younger generations. — FMI & Nielsen
  • 64% of consumers buy at least some of their groceries online. 23% of grocery shoppers are ordering groceries online to be delivered at home more than they were before the pandemic began. — PYMNTS & ACI
  • Nearly 1 in 3 grocers see technology investments, including omnichannel, as having a positive impact on their business. — FMI

Mobile-ization of Online Grocery Shopping

  • 89% of U.S. grocery shoppers are using a smartphone, 22% more than in 2015. 58% of U.S. shoppers agreed they are comfortable using digital/online tools to assist with grocery shopping, up significantly from 35% of shoppers in 2015. — Acosta
  • 1 in 4 18-34-year-olds are now using mobile to make food purchases. — Facebook
  • Using mobile phones in-store distracts shoppers and increases sales. In-store, 88% of shoppers use their smartphones to enhance their grocery shopping experience. They access digital coupons, look up recipes, learn about nutritional value of items, read reviews, and more.  — FMI
  • More shoppers are viewing the grocery circular on their smartphones. In 2020, 34% of shoppers viewed the grocery circular online, and 26% of shoppers viewed the grocery circular via a retailer app. — Acosta
  • More than 7 in 10 shoppers use a grocery retailer’s app. Shoppers use this technology for online orders as well as other reasons including to find products in the store and participate in loyalty programs. — Acosta
  • 47% of 18-34-year-olds say mobile content like promotions, recipes, videos, and images on social platforms plays a role in helping them decide which new food product to buy. — Facebook

The New Meaning of Brand Trust and Loyalty

  • 65 million customers would be willing to switch to a different grocer for easier access to touchless payment options. — PYMNTS & ACI
  • On average, a typical online shopper would order from at least 4 e-tailers in the past 3 months and consider nearly twice more e-tailers (average of 7) for shopping in the future. — Nielsen
  • 60% said that they are turning to brands that they absolutely can trust. Customers expect food brands to be a reliable source of information (64%), innovate (61%), educate (55%), connect (52%), inspire (50%), and solve their problems (59%). — Edelman
  • Among all product categories, grocery has risen to the forefront as the most desired area for convenience, as 63% of consumers find it very important when it comes to selecting a grocery option. — Deloitte
  • 62% of online shoppers used more than one online grocery provider, suggesting consumers likely tried different services to find the one that best meet their needs. — RFG
  • 52% wish brands would be more innovative in how they use digital technology to improve their experience. 47% of consumers say brands being more digitally innovative would actively influence their purchasing decision. — Wunderman Thompson
  • Brands and retailers must look beyond their existing shopper base to thrive. There is no such thing as a ‘Tesco shopper’ or ‘Ocado shopper’: On average, these main grocers lose 16% of their shopper base from one 12-week period to the next. That means that they typically need to acquire 1.8 million new shoppers each quarter just to stand still, let alone grow. — Kantar & The Grocer
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to choose a retailer if they’re digitally innovative. — Wunderman Thompson

Increased Focus on Health

  • 67% of online shoppers place a high level of importance on the health benefits of products. — FMI & Label Insight
  • 47% of consumers are looking for ways to cook healthier. 39% of those surveyed said they are eating healthier foods throughout the weeks of home confinement. — HUNTER
  • To find clarity and identify healthy strategies that will work for them, consumers increasingly are turning to food retailers “as an ally in supporting their health.” — FMI

Inventory Accuracy to Increase Customer Satisfaction

  • The most-cited downsides of online grocery shopping are the lack of available items or difficulty finding the things (45%) and wrong orders (39%). — Good Eggs
  • Superior omnichannel support requires 90% inventory accuracy or greater to enable consistently excellent customer experiences. — Zebra
  • 41% of shoppers wish retailers would do a better job of sharing inventory information. — Google
  • 90% of consumers are affected by COVID-19’s impact on product availability. 57% are unable to find acceptable substitutes and look to grocers and brands for help. — Acosta
  • 46% of shoppers surveyed confirm inventory online before going to store. — Google

Personalization: The New Norm

  • 46% of US shoppers would provide their store with personal information for a better shopping experience. — Oliver Wyman
  • 3 in 4 consumers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations. — Kraft Heinz
  • 61% of people expect brands to tailor experiences based on their preferences. — Google
  • AI is raising customer expectations for the quality of the shopping experience. Consumers expect AI to lead to faster checkouts (42%), faster customer service responses (26%) and more personalized offerings (25%). — Avionos
  • 87% of grocery stores are using personalized customer service to differentiate and the majority (63%) find this to be a successful strategy. — FMI

Social Media Driving Food Purchase Decisions

  • 46% of 18–34-year-old food shoppers say they have purchased a food product after seeing a post on social media. — Facebook
  • 36% of 18–34-year-olds say that they engage with food-related posts on Facebook every week, and more than a quarter of young consumers use social channels to find culinary inspiration. — Facebook
  • 44 percent of respondents (of which, 41 percent are millennials) use social media channels while shopping in-store for groceries. — Inmar Intelligence
  • 19% shoppers favor social media for inspiration — Wunderman Thompson
  • 87% of 18-34-year-old food shoppers say they discover new food or recipe ideas on social platforms. — Facebook
  • Many grocery shoppers follow brands/products (48%) as well as retailers/stores (44%) on social media. Shoppers follow for special promotions or discounts, to learn about new products, to learn about special events or sales, and to get ideas for product use or recipes. — Acosta

Home Cooking and Pandemic Habits, Here to Stay

  • More than half of shoppers (55%) are eating at home more often since the pandemic began. — Acosta
  • 87% of consumers plan to keep cooking at home after COVID-19 as much as or more than during COVID-19. — KPMG  
  • Cooking at home has consumers actively looking for new ingredients, techniques, and recipes: 38% are discovering new ingredients. 45% are discovering new brands. 34% of all adults surveyed are searching for more recipes. 45% of consumers are looking for inspiration to try new foods. 35% of recipe users are searching for a cooking project and inspiration to learn new techniques. — HUNTER
  • 68% of new grocery ecommerce shoppers said they would continue to shop online in the future. — Aki Technologies & TapResearch
  • As COVID-19 continues to impact daily life, there has been an 857% increase in Home Cooking Appliances. — ChannelSight

Impulse Buying: A Window of Opportunity

  • About 16% of consumers report making more impulse purchases online as e-commerce adoption continues to climb. Consumers were more likely to continue making impulse buys of these items if they were offered a “buy again” option or a list of deals highlighting sale items across product categories. — Magid
  • Food/Groceries is the number one category in which consumers (47%) make impulse purchases. — SWNS Digital
  • Almost all in-person shoppers (95%) buy something that’s not on their list, versus only 67% of online shoppers. — Acosta
  • The top thing online shoppers miss about shopping for groceries in stores is discovering items that aren’t on their lists (cited by 62%). — Good Eggs
  • 48% of shoppers’ impulse purchases are triggered “before” they actually enter a check lane. — Explorer Research

Looking to the Future

  • Online grocery sales in the US grew by nearly 53% in 2020, reaching $89.22 billion in sales. That’s an increase of $30.86 billion from a year prior. By 2023, online grocery sales will reach $129.72 billion and will account for nearly 10% of total grocery sales. — eMarketer
  • Food-at-home will continue to drive grocery sales in 2021. — Supermarket News
  • 65% of consumers expect to use digital shopping channels in the future. — Wunderman Thompson
  • 44% of those who use their voice-activated speaker at least weekly say they use the device to order products they need, like groceries and household items at least once a week. — Google
  • 24.8 percent of consumers regularly use a smartphone-based voice assistant to research products before purchase. — Oliver Wyman
  • By 2022, e-commerce’s share of individual grocery categories is expected to be as much as three times higher than pre-COVID-19 levels and two times higher than forecasts before the pandemic. Shift to e-commerce will drive more than 70% of sales growth across food and beverage categories through 2022. — BCG

Whisk can future-proof your food brand or retail store. Get on the fast track to ecommerce and digital shopping. Find out how.