Consumers increasingly happy to buy CPG products online

online grocery shopping

Consumer packaged goods (CPG), once sold exclusively in stores, are increasingly being sold online according to the latest data, a worrying trend for convenience retailers.


Consumer packaged goods, once purchased almost exclusively in stores, are quickly moving into the digital realm as more and more consumers are researching and purchasing CPG products online. This is according to an international survey from Periscope By McKinsey, which included 500 UK respondents. In all markets surveyed, the findings revealed that at least 70% of the respondents are undertaking some form of online CPG shopping activity, with French (40%) and UK (39%) consumers exhibiting the greatest balance of multichannel shopping preferences followed by German (33%) and U.S. (32%) shoppers.

Periscope By McKinsey’s survey evaluated consumers’ current CPG purchasing behaviours as well as their future CPG shopping intentions. It uncovered insights on which channels consumers use to make different categories of CPG purchases and the motivations behind their channel shopping preferences, the demographic impact on shopping channel choices, delivery preferences of consumers making CPG purchases online, and the effect of personalised recommendations on digital shopping.

Highlights from the survey findings, which reflect the responses of consumers from the U.S., UK, France and Germany, include:

Online shoppers prefer non-perishable categories in CPG

Non-edible and durable food items are performing considerably better than perishable products like dairy and bread, revealing shopper hesitation about purchasing these types of products online.

Age plays a role in CPG shopping channel preferences

Millennial shoppers (aged 18-29) were the largest group in each country surveyed, except the UK, to only or mostly undertake their shopping for CPG products online.

Discounts and bulk purchasing options drive online purchasing

When asked to evaluate how their online shopping habits differ from shopping in-store, consumers in all markets said they are more likely to buy more in bulk online and are willing to spend more if they can identify discounts and offers.

Recommendations are welcomed in some markets more than others

At least 38% or more of consumers in every market surveyed say they are open to recommendations on a similar product but from a different brand. Recommendations on products by the same brand was the second most welcomed prompt for shoppers in France (30%) and the U.S. (28%), while “frequently purchased together” style recommendations were particularly popular with 25% of UK shoppers.

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