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Few Boomers Are Shopping for Groceries Online

But a survey shows they like to use their smartphones while in stores

customer looking at smartphone while grocery shopping

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Compared with younger generations, few boomers have taken to ordering their groceries online — but they do rely on the internet in a different way. When boomers roam the aisles of their local food markets, most turn to smartphones to help guide their purchasing decisions.

Those are among the findings of a survey of 2,136 adult grocery shoppers, conducted on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute, an industry group that represents 33,000 retail food stores and 12,000 pharmacies. The survey found that just 14 percent of boomers are ordering groceries over the internet, compared with 38 percent of millennials and 29 percent of Gen Xers.

Boomers also are resisting trends such as meal kit subscriptions (only 1 percent) and same- or next-day delivery (3 percent). Seventy-two percent of boomers envision frequenting their brick-and-mortar grocery stores about as often as they currently do over the next two to three years, compared with 55 percent of millennials and 66 percent of Gen Xers. Some 20 percent of boomers think they’ll go to stores even more, while just 8 percent think they’ll shop in stores less often.

But when boomers walk the shopping aisles, 77 percent are using smartphones. Forty-one percent use digital coupons, 35 percent use their phones to check weekly store specials, and 26 percent search for ingredients for recipes. Some 19 percent read reviews of products and brands, and 12 percent use in-store item locator apps.

Boomers also like rewards cards more than younger generations, with 55 percent saying they’ve signed up for such incentive programs.  

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