Online Grocery Shopping: Exploring the Influence of Income, Internet Access, and Food Prices
3. Materials and Methods
5. Discussion and Conclusions
The current research underscores the significant impact of income on influencing online grocery sales. Despite the potential influence of internet connection and food prices, income continues to be a substantial determinant in shaping online grocery sales. With this research, we hope to lead toward a consensus on the impact of income on online grocery shopping, not only among individuals or households but also among communities, cities, and regions. Furthermore, policy-makers in various nations should also address the socio-economic challenges that hinder the growth of online grocery shopping. This will facilitate the achievement of sustainable development in those nations by encouraging the use of online food shopping.
Limitations and Future Research
The findings and conclusions of this study should be considered exploratory. The findings of this study may not reinforce definitive conclusions to the research on online grocery shopping. However, this study provides a foundation/base for future studies to build upon.
This paper examines the absolute sale revenues of online shopping in regions and the regions’ median income, mobile internet connection, and food price index. The current study data only cover the period 2019–2021 as the most recent data available from the statistical agency Rosstat span up to 2021. This might not completely reflect the conditions of online grocery shopping in Russia at the present time. However, it provides a robust picture of the past and future trends in online grocery shopping in the country. Future research can also collect covering a longer timeframe. Additionally, future research may gather more current data to better depict the current state of online grocery shopping.
The current research does not include any analysis of individual interest in online grocery shopping. Quantitative analysis regarding the extent of public interest in online grocery shopping and the factors’ determining purchase was not conducted since such matters fall beyond the scope of the existing research. It also does not include the shopping frequency or the number of shoppers in online grocery stores. Therefore, the paper does not explain whether wealthy regions buy more expensive groceries online, which might not be entirely unique to online grocery shopping. This represents an interesting avenue for future research. As such, future studies can consider the impact of having a higher disposable income on online grocery shopping, the price differences in the average purchased products in regions with high and low median incomes, or the impact of population size on online grocery sales. Future research can also conduct a quantitative investigation into the level of public interest in online grocery shopping and the factors’ determining the purchase of products online. Further, the purpose of the food price index in this study was not to provide a comparative analysis between the prices of food in online stores and those in brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, the current study analysis chose to investigate whether changes in the general price of food can spur an overall increase/decrease in online grocery shopping. Consequently, future studies can consider looking into the influence of the cost of living and inflation on online grocery shopping.
Furthermore, since this paper is specifically focused on regional-level analysis, future studies can consider the impact of income in individual and country-level studies. This can enable an international comparative analysis at the country level and a deeper analysis of individual differences. Also, future studies can consider the impact of income across various product categories in online grocery shopping, such as fresh groceries, packaged food, beverages, pastries, or groceries with a longer shelf life. This might contribute to our understanding of customer behavior in buying groceries online across different product categories, hence enhancing the research findings. The impact of income on nutritional choices via online grocery shopping can also be examined in future research.
In addition, this study is limited to regions in a single country (Russia), whose social, cultural, and economic reality might be different from nations in other parts of the world. The results should be carefully interpreted to reflect this. Further research may involve collecting regional data from multiple nations to analyze the effects of the factors identified in this study on online grocery shopping. This will help to generalize the research findings. Future research can also investigate the level of interest in the population in online grocery shopping and the factors that determine the purchase of products online. Also, future studies can consider examining the rural–urban differences in the variables in this study. This can provide a better understanding of the influence of factors such as internet access and potentially facilitate the generalization of the present research findings.
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