WPP unveils new research to identify what consumers really value about the Modern Grocery Run in collaboration with Instacart

1 Jun 2023

  • Study led by WPP’s VMLY&R Commerce shows that two out of three consumers will do more than half of their grocery shopping online by 2033

WPP today released the Modern Grocery Run report in collaboration with Instacart. Led by WPP agency VMLY&R Commerce, the new study explores how online grocery shopping has changed since the pandemic and how brands can take advantage of this growing sector.

In the last three years, how we shop for groceries has evolved significantly. Today’s consumers seamlessly split their grocery trip between in-store and online, while marketers must keep pace to ensure services are consistent and integrated between the physical and virtual experiences. In order to help brands make the most of the evolving platforms and identify the trends in how people shop online versus in-store, WPP, VMLY&R Commerce and Instacart compared the shopping habits of 4,200 online grocery consumers across two phases of research in January 2022, and again 12 months later.

The Modern Grocery Run points to a need for a fundamental shift in how we market to consumers going forward to create meaningful experiences. With more people shopping online and the vast majority (83%) saying they would welcome product suggestions, marketers are seeing the commercial benefits of using shoppable ads and video formats to make it easier for customers to discover and buy new products. Other key insights that emerged from the research include:

Two out of three consumers will be doing more than half of their grocery shopping online by 2033. While the acceleration in e-commerce numbers is leveling off across many categories, evidence shows that consumers are still prepared to spend more of their hard-earned dollars on online grocery.

83% would be ‘open to receiving more suggestions about new products.’ As long as it’s relevant, consumers welcome both inspiration and information.

82% say they like it when the ‘online delivery brand recommends new products,’ showing that the brand matters when it comes to products but also counts with the delivery platform.

About half of consumers consider online to be more personal, with more tailored ads and suggestions offered than in-store, a large increase from the previous year’s 26%. As familiarity grows with online shopping, brands, via online delivery platforms, are being given permission to to collect more data and build meaningful relationships with consumers.

Suzanne Skop, Head of Agency Partnerships at Instacart, said: “In the modern era of commerce, marketers need to frame online grocery shopping as more than just convenience to be meaningful to today’s consumer. By tapping into creativity and shopping insights, brands can offer a personalized and memorable online shopping experience. This approach has the power to inspire consumers and ultimately convert them into loyal customers.”

Doug Chavez, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at WPP, added:“We know that convenience is top of mind for customers right now. Brands have a real opportunity to reimagine the shopper experience by leveraging the power of data and creativity to connect with their consumers in new ways that feels customized and uninterrupted."

Julianne Hudson, SVP Marketing Sciences at VMLY&R Commerce, said: “Marketers need to start by re-examining the fact that people shop differently online for groceries than they do in-store, so using the same tactics won’t work. By tapping into the new formats and features enabled by platforms, brands are able to offer top funnel inspiration to guide consumers from discovery to purchase.”

Please follow this link to download the Modern Grocery Run report

About the research and methodology:

WPP, VMLY&R Commerce and Instacart partnered in a research initiative split over two phases, beginning in January 2022, with a secondary round 12 months later, to identify similarities and differences in how people shop online versus in-store. The 10-minute online surveys were conducted among 4,200 US adults who have used an online grocery delivery platform within the last 12 months.

Further information
Alex Davis-Isaac, WPP
+1 646-531-7724
[email protected]

About WPP
WPP is the creative transformation company. We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.