Las Vegas, NV - Despite reports that the future of food shopping is online, a surprisingly large number of consumers prefer to shop at their local independent supermarket.

According to findings from the third annual National Grocery Shoppers Survey, conducted by Nielsen on behalf of the National Grocers Association (NGA), two-thirds (64%) of today's independent shoppers are very/extremely satisfied with their local supermarket, and more than three-fourths (80%) of shoppers prefer their local store to an online alternative.

The reasons? Respondents cited friendly employees, quality meats and produce, and an easy-to-navigate layout.

“There’s no doubt that the supermarket industry is rapidly changing, either because of the growth of e-commerce or the explosion of new formats, along with shifting consumer trends. However, independent grocers are nimble enough to quickly overcome obstacles and with strong ties to their communities, they know what consumers want and need,” said Peter Larkin, president and CEO of NGA.

“In today’s omnichannel retail environment, independent grocers maintain a unique and strong connection with their shoppers,” said Jeanne Danubio, Executive Vice President of Retail Lead Markets at Nielsen.Complementing the findings of this year’s survey, Nielsen’s new independent buyer group panel data shows that a loyal independent grocery shopper spends more than 40% more in grocery than the average shopper. It will be critical for independent grocers to maintain the quality and personal connections that keep these valuable consumers coming back to the independent store.”

Some other takeaways from the survey include the following:
  • Those that do shop online do it in addition to shopping at their store, with a majority (68%) of purchases done there.  While convenience is the main reason for shopping on line, concerns about freshness motivate consumers to the store.
  • Over three quarters (76%) of shoppers who have purchased groceries online have used food delivery compared to 39% who have used the “click-and-collect” method.
  • The most commonly purchased food online is packaged foods (14%), followed by general merchandise/health and beauty care (10%) and cleaning products (10%).
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (27%) shoppers anticipate an uptick in their online grocery shopping over the next five years.
  • The majority of independent shoppers (63%) expect personalized services from their grocery stores, including instructions on how to cook with certain foods, help with label reading and nutritional claims, and general education on nutritional values.