The grocery delivery sector is hotting up, with scores of providers vying to deliver goods to people in their homes or at work – in increasingly imaginative ways.
From bikes that promise to reach you in 15 minutes, to deliveries direct to your fridge while you’re out, there are more and more choices for American consumers. But which are likely to win the most market share?
Americans want groceries delivered by humans, not robots
Growing demand for grocery delivery is likely to put increasing pressure on the gig economy. Some companies are reducing their reliance on cheap and flexible workers with robotic delivery solutions.
Estonian technology firm Cleveron have unveiled a driverless, semi-autonomous delivery vehicle that can carry up to 500 pounds and travel within a 30-minute range of the warehouse or store at a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. Teleoperators will be able to remotely supervise up to 10 vehicles at a time as they traverse low-traffic areas and roads.
But while these solutions sound exciting, Americans show a strong preference for having their groceries delivered by humans. Only 13% would choose drone delivery given the option, while a self-driving vehicle would be the first choice for 15% of people. By contrast, 54% would opt for delivery to their home by a human.
This is surprising given that people prefer to use a human-free checkout option when shopping in-store, as highlighted in our other report. Perhaps people have concerns about their deliveries reaching them safely or maybe they feel access to their home is unsuitable for drones or autonomous vehicles.
While these options are less popular than receiving groceries at home, delivery to a convenient collection point would be the first choice for 10% of Americans, while 8% would prefer delivery to their workplace. Millennials (aged 26-40) show the most interest in these two options, while Gen Z (aged 18-25) over-index for delivery by autonomous vehicle and Gen X (aged 41-55) over-index for drone delivery.
Our data shows that the single largest percentage of people (21%) are willing to wait up to two hours, while 18% will wait an hour. Only 11% expect delivery in half an hour and 8.5% within 15 minutes. The demographic least willing to wait are Gen Z, the single largest percentage of whom (20%) expect delivery in one hour.
Among Americans who are willing to pay for the delivery of grocery items – that’s 76% of the population – the single largest percentage (23%) expect to pay between $5-$6.99, while 22% expect to pay less than $5.
Gen Z and Millennials are willing to pay the most for quick delivery, with a quarter of those aged 18-25 happy to pay $7-$9.99 and 23% of those aged 26-40. On the other hand, 43% of Boomers are unwilling to pay anything at all for delivery, which is the largest by some margin.
EBT cards are an important payment option
When it comes to paying for groceries ordered online, credit and debit cards are the firm favorite but there are other payment options that retailers should not ignore. Accepting payment by Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is particularly important, as 16% of Americans would choose to pay this way.
We do see some notable variations when we look at the preferences of different demographics; Gen Z over-index for Apple Pay (13%) and Google Pay (8%), Millennials over-index for cryptocurrency (4%) and Gen X over-index for PayPal (18%).
Grocery delivery box will become a standard feature of American homes
48% of people say they’re likely to invest in a grocery delivery box in the next couple of years (including 23% who are ‘very’ likely), while 7% already have one. Gen Z, especially, love the concept; 60% say they’re likely to buy one, while Millennials are most likely to say they already have one (10%).
Other innovations that help people receive groceries when they’re not at home also look set to grow. For example, if you have a smart lock that can give delivery drivers one-time access to your home, they can enter your kitchen and put groceries directly in your fridge (it’s something Walmart is already trialing). Just over a third of Americans say they’re likely to invest in this technology in the near future, with 7% already owning it.
Alternatively, for shoppers who aren’t comfortable with the idea of a stranger entering their home while they’re out, a smart garage door can let them leave deliveries in the garage. Amazon is providing this service to Prime members in more than 5,000 locations. Nearly 36% of people say they’re likely to invest in a smart garage door, while 7% say they already have it. Millennials over-index for being ‘very’ likely to invest in smart doors and locks in the next two years.
The level of interest in home delivery tech suggests that e-commerce will continue to thrive post-pandemic. This means grocery retailers will need to place a big focus on growing distribution hubs and logistics in the coming years.
Senior Content Writer
Bel has a background in newspaper and magazine journalism but loves to geek-out with Attest consumer data to write in-depth reports. Inherently nosy, she's endlessly excited to pose questions to Attest's audience of 100m global consumers. She also likes cake.