Most Consumers Shop for CPG Through Omnichannel Efforts: Report

A new Nielsen report shows that most Americans are no longer exclusively shopping in stores for CPG items.

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Nielsen Connect released new data revealing that U.S. omnichannel consumption increased by 50% over the course of 2020 and that nearly half of all consumer goods purchases were completed via the e-commerce landscape. This research comes from Nielsen’s latest Omnichannel Shopping Fundamentals survey, the industry’s most comprehensive report on omnichannel shopping behavior in the United States.

“The new Omnichannel Fundamental Survey was specifically created to bring clarity to the industry’s most pressing questions, such as: the pandemic’s impact on impulse and planned purchases, omnichannel category drivers, decision influencers and fulfillment method and delivery preferences across the omni retail landscape,” said Nikhil Sharma, Nielsen’s Vice President of North America Consumer Analytics.

The latest Nielsen findings confirm that within the U.S., both food and non-food products have seen significant and notable shifts in omnichannel shopping since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few headline highlights:

The Number of Exclusive/Heavy Online Shoppers in the U.S. Doubled As a Result of COVID-19

  • The number of shoppers who consider themselves to heavily or exclusively shop online for everyday items grew by 133% between September 2019 and September 2020.

“Trips to the Store” Are Turning Into Trips to The Front Door

  • Shoppers’ preference for in-store pick-up grew by 26% during the 52 weeks ended September 2020.

Omnicentric Categories Are Budding; Winners are Emerging

  • Non-food categories like pet supplies, vitamins and facial skin care are performing exceedingly well across the omnichannel landscape.

    % of Category Shoppers Buying Products Online:

  • 85% of all pet supplies shoppers
  • 79% of all vitamin shoppers
  • 78% of all facial skin care shoppers

Hispanic Consumers Are Leading the Omnichannel Charge

  • The number of Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans who used online and offline fulfillment methods in tandem with one another increased dramatically during the pandemic, however, omnichannel adoption grew the most among Hispanic shoppers.

    Omnichannel Adoption Dramatically Increased Across Racial Segments

  • Hispanics: +54%
  • African Americans: +43% 
  • Asian Americans: +31%  

We Asked, Consumers Answered: These Are the Most Helpful Website Features in the ‘New Normal’

  • 29% of shoppers found the order history tool to be the most helpful feature when shopping online for non-food items.

Nielsen’s Sharma continues, “Within the U.S., new behaviors have emerged that retailers and manufacturers must acknowledge, accommodate and swiftly act on--especially as online shopping habits begin to solidify. While we do expect a return of some kind to pre-pandemic habits, consumers will not be returning to a pre-pandemic retail environment. Undeniably, consumers have more choices than ever in their path to purchase, meaning, as consumer needs and preferences continue to evolve, it is crucial to have an omnichannel strategy in place to sustain and grow momentum in 2021.”