A February 2019 consumer confidence report published by IRi summarizes research findings for e-commerce retail sales. This post will focus on the grocery and CPG portions of the report. Download the PDF: Consumer Confidence Reflected in E-commerce Growth.

Quick Facts:

  • $58.9 billion of CPG sales occurred online in 2018
  • Online CPG sales had a 35.4% yoy increase
  • Online CPG sales represent 11% of all e-commerce sales

Who shops for groceries online

Online shopping varies by generation based on who believes they can find a better deal shopping online for food and beverages. 31% of Millennials believe shopping online allows them to find lower priced food and beverage options while only ~20% of Gen X and Boomers believe so.

Chart: IRi

Subscription services by generation

Many of the major online retailers offer subscription services for repeat grocery purchases. This saves the consumer time and energy in not having to place the same monthly order and it allows the retailer to automate sales orders. These types of services are most favored by Gen X at 33%; followed closely by Millennials at 26% and Boomers at 17%.

Chart: IRi

Read more on e-commerce, omnichannel, and marketing to Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

E-commerce and omnichannel strategies

E-commerce and omnichannel go hand-in-hand for traditional brick and mortar retailers that need to appeal to younger generations who are shopping online. This is especially true when $58.9 billion of CPG sales occurred online in 2018. That’s a 35.4% yoy increase. And that $58.9b of CPG sales represents 11% of all e-commerce sales, with 64% of those sales attributed to omnichannel growth. Read more on omnichannel strategies and trends.

Investing in online and in-store customer experiences pays off

Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that invest in the customer experience for both online and in-store sales are seeing the benefits through sales. According to the chart, Grocery now represents 4% of total e-commerce, higher than Drug, Club, and Dollar.

Online CPG shopping to continue to increase

The IRi report concluded that in 2019, online grocery spending will increase yoy by 10%. These findings are supported by KPMG that reported a growing number of consumers plan to shift more of their food buying online in 2019. Because of this, traditional brick and mortar retailers—including grocery chains, mass merchants and drug chains—are investing in their e-commerce offerings.

One particular area of investment for retailers will be on mobile sales. Additional research indicates that retailers are also looking closely at 5G capabilities and how AI and IoT can help sell more units through home displays such as Alexa and Google Home Hub (read more on technology trends and implications for retailers).


With e-commerce currently experiencing a 30% return rate (read more on intentional returns and e-commerce) and shipping, warehousing, and processing costs all skyrocketing, retailers need more than just omnichannel strategies: they also need a modern liquidation process to sell off returned and overstocked items that can no longer be sold as new.

B-Stock provides retailers a private, online marketplace to auction off returned and overstock merchandise, on an ongoing basis, to a large network of business buyers from across the country. By selling via their own B2B liquidation marketplace to a larger buyer group, retailers can increase recovery rates and keep warehouses from hitting capacity.

Please take a moment to review our case studies and our suite of private marketplaces that we operate for nine of the top 10 U.S. retailers, including hundreds more in the U.S. and internationally across Europe.

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