The beverage business needs to crack the code of how to prompt shoppers to buy on impulse online.
The bulk of consumers still purchase their groceries in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, but analysts expect more to go digital. Skipping the grocery store and shopping online could put impulse purchases, and some profit, at risk. However, big companies may be equipped to tackle the shift.
Online purchases represent only 2 percent of food and beverage sales, compared with 12 percent of total retail, according to Kantar Retail data presented by Macquarie Research analyst Caroline Levy at the Beverage-Digest Future Smarts conference on Friday. That's on pace to grow to 5 percent by 2020.
In theory, the web offers an unlimited shelf where consumers can access an infinite number of brands. However, that concept has been debunked, said Alliance Bernstein & Co. analyst Ali Dibadj, citing research showing 64 percent of customers buy the first three items, and 81 percent buy on the first page.