IGD: Technology is empowering grocery shoppers

Online retailing in food and consumer goods has grown at "a phenomenal rate" in recent years, with technology transforming the way people purchase groceries, the IGD said today (22 October).

According to the food and consumer goods group, a growing number of consumers are researching online before they go shopping, while a significant percentage of shoppers are using technology to inspire them in their purchase process.

The comments come as research from IGD ShopperVista shows that 30% of shoppers – up from 6% in 2010 – are heading online before they go shopping to find which stores are offering the best food and grocery deals. It also found that 47% look up recipes online and 23% watch food channels via their mobile, tablet or computer ahead of making a purchase.

Highlighting the need for retailers to invest in their mobile commerce and geo-specific marketing services, 32% of respondents said they would like to be alerted to deals on their mobile phone when passing a food and grocery store. Meanwhile, 74% of shoppers believe that using technology during the grocery shopping process saves them time and 69% of consumers think it saves them money.

Joanne Denney-Finch, CEO of IGD, commented: "Since the start of the recession, shoppers have become much more savvy, regularly hunting around for the best deals.

"These behaviours have now become much more established and an everyday norm for many shoppers. Technology is making it even easier for people to do this online, saving time before setting out on their journey.

"Shoppers are also becoming much more enthusiastic about using technology for their food and grocery shopping, whether it's searching for recipes, watching food programmes online, cherry picking deals or ordering their weekly shop. In fact, we predict that online grocery retailing will continue to accelerate at rapid pace in the UK and double in size to be worth £14.6 billion by 2018 from its current value of £6.5 billion."

There are a whole host of retail technology vendors that are looking to capitalise on the changing habits of consumers, with industry commentators expecting more mobile marketing initiatives and location-based technology to play a greater role in people's shopping journeys.

Over the last 12 months there has been a plethora of research studies showing that the mobile phone is set to play an ever-more crucial part in connecting brands to consumers. Regular Essential Retail columnist Huw Thomas, managing director of retail consultancy PMC, has covered a number of related issues in his recent articles.

In addition, mobile marketing expert Textlocal this week released research looking into UK consumer mCommerce and e-tail behaviours, with the results adding further support to the notion that mCommerce will continue to grow at a rapid rate over the next few years.

Based on a study conducted among 2,000 mobile consumers and 330 businesses, including Waitrose, Makro and Britvic, Textlocal anticipates that the average mCommerce user will spend £224.75 in 2013, rising to £392.42 in 2016.