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Online grocery shopping increased 30% in Idaho last year, and officials say it’s a trend that will continue

Business & Money

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POCATELLO (KPVI) – Grocery shopping is one of the many things that’s changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although grocery stores are open and running, Ibotta, an app that allows users to earn cash back on groceries and other purchases, says Idahoans made a huge switch to online grocery shopping.

“Idaho in particular had a huge jump. Before the pandemic hit, they were 43rd in the nation in online grocery percentage. Over the course of the pandemic they shifted to about sixth,” Ibotta’s Chief Marketing Officer Richard Donahue says.

Donahue also broke down some key products Idahoans were shopping for, including alcohol and cleaning supplies. He says online grocery shopping increased 30% in 2020.

“What they did is they sort of naturally gravitated to online grocery. A number of retailers were promoting that really heavily, making that option more widely available,” says Donahue.

The Bi-Lo Food Market in Pocatello is one of many grocery stores to also offer online services to its customers. Since the increase in online shopping, Bi-Lo Owner Barry Dutton says some products are still making their way to store shelves and a lot of products still aren’t available.

Toilet paper, pet food and canned fruit are hard to get, he says.

“When it hit before, it was just like ‘bam,’ you know, because a lot of those things are only made in x amount for the year,” said Dutton.

The shift to online shopping is a trend both Donahue and Dutton believe is here to stay.

“Once people change their behavior, they understand the benefits, the convenience, the amount of time they can save,” says Donahue.

“It’s a service aspect,” Dutton says. “If you could order it online and just go to the store and they bring it out to you, it’s just part of the game. You want to take care of your guests and that’s what it comes down to.”