Convenience, technology and engagement are at the heart of the changing face of grocery shopping in India

Convenience, technology and engagement are at the heart of the changing face of grocery shopping in India

Source Mintel 


Grocery shopping has entered a new era in India, influenced by factors such as the fast-paced changes in technology and evolving consumer behaviour. Here, we explore the key trends that are influencing Indian consumers’ online and in-store grocery shopping habits.

Engaging experiences, convenient delivery

The pandemic has given rise to a number of ordering and delivery services – bringing home-bound consumers everything from medicines to groceries. Two in five Indian consumers find using online grocery shopping apps convenient. At the same time, nearly two-thirds consider grocery shopping at neighbourhood stores to be fun. 

To satisfy this dual-natured behaviour, brands can adopt a hybrid model where offline experiences can be supported with online tools. For instance, helping shoppers create an online list to assist them in the store and help reduce repeat or multiple trips. 

Brick-and-mortar retailers can also attract time-pressed consumers by creating all-in-one spaces to cater to their needs. While they can’t match the convenience of online shopping, they can compete against it by stocking a good variety of products so consumers only need to make one-stop shopping.

Further, easily locatable products, prominently displayed offers, special aisles for healthy labels/festive products and seasonal displays can amplify the in-store experience.

With the growth of online shopping trends, offline stores can leverage home with delivery as over two-thirds of Indian shoppers agree that home delivery is an important factor when deciding where to shop. Mintel Trend ‘Straight to You’highlights how consumers are also expecting products and services to be brought directly to them, wherever they are. 

Digital shifts are transforming Tier 2 markets

Internet access in India has expanded, with new entrants like Jio reducing connection costs. This has increased demand for global goods and digital payments.​

More exposure to digital channels is expanding Tier 2 consumers’ desire for new products. They are just as likely, or more likely, to see the convenience in grocery shopping apps as Tier 1 consumers. While these consumers are evolving with aspirational lifestyles, according to Mintel research on premiumisation in India, they may not be attainable through local, offline channels. The lack of well-developed retail supply chains in lower-tier cities often poses a barrier between the demand and supply mechanics.

Tier 2 consumers also exhibit price sensitivity with two-thirds believing that online grocery shopping offers more discounts than neighbourhood stores. Online brands like Grofers, Flipkart and JioMart are tapping into new Tier 2 and Tier-3 markets and exploring tie-ups with local micro-sellers. These services aim to ensure availability and leverage micro-suppliers to create value and satisfy rising aspirations in these areas.

Millennials are enhancing their household skills

Aided by the pandemic, consumers are readily exploring their interests in domestic activities and utilising their free time to learn new household skills. Older Millennials aged 35-44 are more inclined to improve their cooking skills and 39% of men in this cohort look for gourmet ingredients to ramp up their cooking.

Stores can stand out by stocking traditional Indian groceries along with non-traditional ingredients like Italian puree, oregano, cheeses like parmesan, olive oil, curated meats and other cold cuts. With the internet and social media exposure, consumers are gaining awareness of international cuisines and want to experiment themselves.

What we think

Apart from convenience, Indian consumers are always seeking value for money with their grocery shopping. With multiple channels available for consumers to shop from, grocery apps and physical-only stores need to keep their prices competitive. 

Two in five Indians rank ‘appealing promotions both online and offline’ as one of their top five factors when selecting a grocery retailer. To retain value-seeking consumers, offline channels have the task of creating unique offers and delivering the information to their target audience via physical and digital means.​ 


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