U.S. consumers often face several choices when deciding where to shop for groceries, and the competition between different grocery stores in an area can be steep. A 2015 survey found that the most important factors when choosing a primary supermarket were having the best value for money, having a convenient location, and being well stocked. In addition, many traditional supermarkets also compete with farmers’ markets and organic specialty stores, with 36 percent of U.S. consumers having reportedly bought fresh fruits and vegetables at a farmers’ market in 2017.
In terms of what U.S. consumers look for when deciding to purchase a food or beverage, taste is the most influential factor, ahead of price, healthfulness, and convenience; a set of preferences which have stayed stable over the last few years. However, making sustainable food choices has become more important to consumers since 2012. Another survey of U.S. consumers from 2017 found that 80 percent of respondents consider quality as a particularly important feature when buying food.
Although online grocery shopping has existed for many years, 98 percent of consumers in America only buy groceries in stores. This lack of popularity cannot be attributed to dissatisfaction by consumers, as approximately 72 percent of consumers who had tried online grocery shopping rated their experience positively. Shoppers often like to see and touch products before purchasing them, or simply enjoy the experience of shopping in stores, factors which are both obstacles for online grocery shopping. According to a 2017 survey, better prices and convenience are both major factors that would persuade more consumers to give online grocery shopping a try.