Press Release

Global online grocery purchasing is up 15% in last two years, leading to an estimated U.S. $70B in additional sales online FMCG

Press Release

Global online grocery purchasing is up 15% in last two years, leading to an estimated U.S. $70B in additional sales online FMCG

New York, NY, Nov. 15, 2018 — Online purchasing of packaged and fresh groceries has surged by 15% in the past two years, with an increase in consumers’ confidence within the online buying ecosystem leading to purchasing in a broader range of categories, according to a new report by global measurement company, Nielsen.

The 2018 Nielsen Connected Commerce Report, which looks at consumers’ online purchasing habits, reported that 95% of global consumers who have access to the internet have made a purchase online, up 1% vs 2017 and up 2% from 2016. The report also revealed 26% of digital consumers purchased fresh groceries online, an increase of 15% between 2016 and 2018, which is contributing to overall fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) e-commerce growth, which Nielsen estimates increased by around U.S. $70 billion globally in the past two years.

Stalwart e-commerce categories fashion, travel, and books continue to account for the largest proportion of online transactions (61%, 59% and 49% of consumers, respectively, purchased within the category). Meanwhile, the categories posting the most significant growth in e-commerce activity include restaurant deliveries, where 33% of online consumers said they made a purchase (up 2 points vs 2017), packaged groceries (up 3 points to 30%), and fresh groceries (up 2 points to 26%).

“From tracking the e-commerce evolution in pioneering countries like South Korea where online sales now account for a staggering 20% of the total FMCG sector, we know that consumers follow a certain pattern of online shopping behavior,” observes Pete Gale, Retailer Services, Nielsen. “Travel, fashion, and books are typical categories for first-time online shoppers, but as their familiarization, comfort, and trust levels increase, their category repertoire expands into areas like beauty, personal care, and baby products, and then moves even wider afield to packaged and fresh grocery categories, and this is evidenced in the significant jump we’ve seen in online purchasing within grocery and food delivery in recent years.”

This Nielsen report reveals that consumers are more open to purchasing packaged and fresh groceries online when they are offered certain purchasing options and quality assurances. Almost half (49%) of consumers said that a money-back guarantee for products not matching what was ordered would encourage them to buy online. A further 45% of consumers are enticed by same day product replacement service for products not available, while 44% are looking for free delivery services for purchases above a minimum spend.

“With the rise of consumer adoption in online purchasing, the continuously evolving e-commerce space has blurred the lines between online and offline,” notes Gale. “A few years ago, e-commerce purchase was focused on non-perishable goods such as travel, fashion, and books, but over time we are seeing a rise in purchases across new categories. Looking ahead, the next wave of evolution in online purchasing behavior will likely be driven by innovations in digital capabilities like personalized recommendations based on programmatic consumption and online behavior.”

About the Nielsen Connected Commerce Report

The Nielsen Connected Commerce Report provides an understanding of the global connected consumer, shopping traits, category evolution and barriers to identify future growth prospects. It identifies the top online categories and changes in category penetration, along with online purchasing behavior and consumers’ expectations from an online shopping experience. The insights will assist FMCG companies in formulating strategies to enhance consumers shopping experiences in the digital world.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Nielsen is divided into two business units. Nielsen Global Media, the arbiter of truth for media markets, provides media and advertising industries with unbiased and reliable metrics that create a shared understanding of the industry required for markets to function. Nielsen Global Connect provides consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers with accurate, actionable information and insights and a complete picture of the complex and changing marketplace that companies need to innovate and grow.

Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

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