October 20th, 2016

// Why not going to your grocery store could actually cost you more at checkout

The Impact of Online Shopping on Grocery Prices: AAEA Member Research

Why not going to your grocery store could actually cost you more at checkout


 Online shopping is becoming a way of life. The number of pointing and clicking instead of standing in line at the store is increasing at an amazing rate. A recent study estimates online retail will be a half-a-trillion dollar business by 2020.

More recently the trend of online shopping for groceries has seen major growth. Whether it’s buying from a store’s website or make-at-home meals, it’s estimated that 12 percent of all food shopping will be done online in the next three years.

Some people think it’s much easier to search online than going down the grocery store aisles, but could this trend actually hurt consumers?

That’s the focus of “Attribute Search in Online Retailing,” a paper authored by Timothy Richards of Arizona State University and Steve Hamilton of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and selected for the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

“People are really concerned about the price of groceries,” Richards said. “But if they think buying everything online is going to mean lower food prices, they have another thing coming.”

Richards and his co-authors analyzed the spending habits of households participating in the comScore Web Behavior Panel to assess searches, purchases, and prices. So what is driving the price increase compared to stopping by your local store? To access the paper, or to set up an interview with the author, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.


ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit www.aaea.org.


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