Thirty-six percent of consumers use grocery pickup, also referred to as click-and-collect, for at least some of their grocery purchases, according to a new study.

Perhaps most notably, half that group only began using the service in the last three months, according to a new report from Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Category Partners.

The availability of grocery pickup has grown dramatically in the last few years; Walmart alone now has more than 3,000 locations with grocery pickup and has heavily promoted the service, including with a commercial during the Super Bowl. Overall, click-and-collect is now available at nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S., according to Category Partners, which polled 1,000 people for its survey.

The consulting firm found that many consumers use grocery pickup as their main form of shopping, with one-quarter of them using the service weekly. Many are also regularly purchasing fresh items via click-and-collect; 17% use it to buy fresh produce and fresh meat weekly, according to a news release on the findings.

People in the South are most likely to take advantage of this option, with 44% using the service and 43$ buying produce items for grocery pickup at least occasionally.

Click-and-collect is particularly popular among shoppers under 44, including for purchasing fresh items.

“It’s not surprising that younger shoppers have really embraced (click-and-collect),” Cara Ammon, senior vice president of research and market intel for Category Partners, said in the release. “They have grown up making their purchases online, so it’s natural for them to buy their groceries online. Plus, younger shoppers, more so than older shoppers, seem to be drawn to convenience.”

Ammon described the popularity of grocery pickup as unlikely to wane and likely to necessitate more innovation on the part of retailers.

“As many brick-and-mortar stores close and we make the move toward buying more of the items we need online, it is inevitable that we will buy our groceries online as well,” Ammon said in the release. “Click-and-collect provides a convenient alternative to walking the aisles of the supermarket. It especially makes sense for certain demographic groups such as younger shoppers who are very comfortable with online shopping.

“While this service amps up the convenience factor for consumers, it requires them to plan their purchases,” Ammon said. “How this trend impacts retailers and suppliers who rely on impulse purchases to drive existing product sales and new product launches remains to be explored.”

 

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