Browsing for food: Will COVID-induced online grocery delivery persist?
Publication Year: 2022

Browsing for food: Will COVID-induced on-line grocery delivery persist?


Younes, H., Noland, R. B. & Zhang, W. (2022). Browsing for food: Will COVID-induced online grocery delivery persist? Regional Science Policy & Practice, 1-17.


The COVID-19 pandemic altered daily activities. Many consumers reverted to online grocery shopping and home delivery. We analyze factors associated with the decision to grocery shop online and whether this will persist post-COVID using data collected via a representative online Qualtrics panel in the State of New Jersey (N = 1,419). Around half of respondents either decreased in-person shopping, increased online shopping, or pursued a combination of both. We used factor analysis to decompose attitudes towards the pandemic, finding that attitudinal responses broke down into ‘fearful’, ‘believers’, and ‘deniers’. Binomial regressions were used to analyze patterns of frequency of grocery shopping during the pandemic and changes in behavior during the pandemic. Results suggest that age, gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, having children at home, and attitudes towards COVID-19 are likely to influence frequency of online and in-person grocery shopping. Specifically, being 50 years or older is negatively associated with online grocery shopping. Those who deny COVID-19 were less likely to decrease in-person grocery shopping. People who had children at home, who had advanced degrees, or who were of Hispanic origin were more likely to increase online shopping and decrease in-person shopping during the pandemic. While our results suggest that in-person grocery shopping will return to prepandemic levels, we found that respondents report some increased persistence in online grocery shopping post-COVID.

Subject Areas

COVID-19 | Health & Safety
Additional Topics
groceries | online delivery