Americans love shopping online—except when it comes to groceries.
That’s a major hurdle for the many companies betting that the web is the inevitable future of supermarkets. But if any company can change people’s minds, it’s Amazon, a new poll suggests.
The online shopping juggernaut’s blockbuster purchase of Whole Foods this month gave both brands a substantial favorability boost in the eyes of consumers, according to a report this week from media and research firm Morning Consult.
About two in five of the more than 2,000 people polled in the days following the deal said they saw Whole Foods in a more favorable light. Around 45 percent said the same of Amazon.
Indeed, three in 10 people said they were more likely to join Amazon’s Prime program because of the acquisition.
The combination of Whole Foods’ longstanding reputation for quality organic brands and Amazon’s image of efficiency and convenience could make their customers more comfortable with the idea of online grocery shopping.
The company still has a long way to go in this respect, though. While the majority of respondents say they’re open to buying canned goods, toiletries, and cleaning products online for delivery — 54 percent, 64 percent, and 64 percent, respectively — the numbers drop off to between roughly 30 and 40 percent when it comes to frozen goods, bread, produce, dairy, and fresh meat.
Yet Amazon is by far the company best positioned to lure these reticent customers. AmazonFresh was the clear favorite among respondents with nearly triple the number of admitted customers than its closest rival. Forty-two percent say they’ve used it as compared to the 16 percent who’ve ordered with veteran service FreshDirect and 12 percent each for startups Peapod and Instacart.
Don’t count challengers out just yet, though. A source familiar with Instacart’s thinking said in the hours after news of the deal broke that it’s counting on grocery giants to line up behind it in recognition of the behemoth threat posed by the marriage of Amazon and Whole Foods.