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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen have released a preview of their "Digitally Engaged Food Shopper" analysis, designed to "offer a comprehensive look into the behaviors, motivations and expectations of the digitally engaged food shopper. Initial findings from this study show that within the next decade, online food shopping will reach maturation in the U.S., far faster than other industries that have come online before.

"Research also revealed that the center store is likely to shift online faster than other departments, suggesting a fundamental evaluation of the role the store plays in digital food shopping. The research estimates that in the current climate of technology adoption and evolution, consumer spend on online grocery shopping could reach $100 billion.  To put that into context, that is the equivalent of 3,900 grocery stores based on store volume."

Other key findings:

• "Multi-channel shopping: More shoppers are buying more of their groceries across channels. In fact, 23% of American households are buying food online today. This upward trend continues - of those that will buy online, 60% expect to spend over a quarter of their food dollars online in ten years."

• "Digital Experimentation: Grocery retailers and manufacturers are meaningfully experimenting with business models and technologies to find their way online. However, the road to success has not been paved."

• "Grocery Saturation: Grocery shopping will reach digital maturity and saturation faster than other industries before, such as publishing or banking.

• "Center Store Migration: Center store categories are already migrating online and this migration is expected to continue."

• "Young & Digital: Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt grocery related digital technologies more quickly and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further."

A copy of the full report is available here.
KC's View:
Reading the report is important, but it is even more critical that retailers formulate aggressive, appropriate responses to the ever-quickening shifts in the e-grocery business. No time for dithering.