Multichannel grocery shopping is surging across the globe, with the birth of a new child being a primary driver of an increased propensity to buy online, according to a global research report from Dunnhumby which examined consumer habits in multichannel grocery shopping in 14 countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Emerging and nascent markets are seeing the most growth with 97% and 89% year-on-year growth respectively while established markets have grown by more than 30%. Further, even the most established online grocery categories are seeing significant growth.

The three categories with the highest share of online sales - frozen meat, baby food and baby care, and canned food - have an average annual online growth rate of 21%. Across established, emerging and nascent markets, baby food and baby care products appear in the top three sales categories, while baby milk is by far the leading product for new online shoppers, indexing at almost twice the rate as the second most popular product among new shoppers, water.

Despite this significant growth globally, the online grocery market in the U.S. still lags behind markets such as France, South Korea and the UK, which are more established in online grocery shopping. Dunnhumby's research also shows how important physical stores are in the U.S. when it comes to gaining consumer acceptance for new products. Some 26% of US shoppers consider household items an important category for online shopping, but just 8% say it is likely they would buy a product for the first time in this category online. In comparison, 36% of consumers in China would be likely to buy a new household product online.

Online performance is also shown to be affected by how a brand's audience matches the typical online shopper - generally younger, affluent consumers with young children - as well as brands' understanding and response to the path to purchase in their category, including how consumers use search, search terms and favourites accordingly.

"Across the globe, there's a marked increase in multichannel grocery shopping, particularly among time and sleep starved parents who benefit most from being able to shop any time, without leaving home. Baby food and baby care products not only appear in the top three categories, but these are clearly important gateway products for new online shoppers", explained Julian Highley, Global Director of Customer Knowledge for Dunnhumby.

Major market locations like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles have started to roll out "lick and deliver" grocery services with some success. "While there is strong multichannel growth throughout the world, there are particular challenges in the U.S. preventing the market from reaching the same level of development as elsewhere. In smaller cities, it's likely that 'click and collect' services will be the dominant method for online shopping," concluded Highley.

The full report has been made available for free download from Dunnhumby's web site - click here (free registration required).