'Ripe for Disruption': New Survey Shows Growing Appetite for Grocery Industry's Digital Makeover


Mohamed and Omar Soliman, founders of Couryah!

Canadians were seemingly forced to change many of their habits as a result of the pandemic, but shopping online for groceries instead of in-store seems to be the one change Canadians will continue to do willingly, according to a new survey by Maru Group.

The Maru Feel, Behave, Think Tracking Survey, commissioned in July by PayPal, shows 72 per cent of Canadian respondents love being able to shop online for their groceries with 38 per cent saying they like being able to order their groceries online before picking it up in store.

“I can’t see myself going back to the grocery store on a weekly basis the way I used to before the pandemic,” said Dharmini Dharmalingam, a 62-year-old woman from Toronto. “We started shopping online for groceries because of COVID-19 but it’s become so convenient, especially because I don’t have a car and I help take care of my granddaughter all day.”

Dharmalingam said she counts on grocery delivery not just for food but for other essential items such as diapers, shampoo, allergy medicine and even a weight scale when hers broke down. The survey suggests she’s not alone. More than six in 10 Canadians surveyed said they are open to their grocery stores delivering more than groceries, including things like cosmetics, baby food, household items, and other items.

“I used to think having your groceries delivered was an unnecessary expense, but the value comes in the time and hassle you save yourself. It’s worth every penny,” said Dharmalingam.

Consumers Want Seamless, Safe Online Experience

The survey shows shopping online for groceries is popular across many lifestyles. Among the populations most taking advantage of this trend are those between the ages of 18 and 34 years old (77 per cent), those earning an annual income of $50,000 or more (65 per cent) as well as single Canadians. Mike Monty, director of enterprise sales at PayPal Canada, said he has seen a surge of interest from grocery brands that have made moves to offer customers an online ordering experience that includes either a delivery service or a pick-up option. Some grocery brands have partnered with companies that offer customers a one-stop shop delivery service from a variety of grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and retailers.

grocery infograph

“E-commerce has always been about giving consumers a convenient way to buy what they want, when they want and being able to pay for that how they want,” Monty said. “The grocery industry is ripe for disruption in this new digital economy.”

Part of the disruption will take place in how companies choose to give their customers a seamless and safe online experience, particularly as a growing number of shoppers say they are open to switching grocers from the one they usually shop with. (The survey showed 18–34-year-olds (53 per cent), those earning $100k+ (41 per cent), single Canadians (43 per cent), and parents of young children (41 per cent) are most open to shop at a new grocery store.)

Despite the prevalence of online shopping and the shift to the digital economy that took place during the pandemic, there are still a number of Canadians who feel unsafe putting their financial information online. In fact, one-half (49 per cent) of Canadian consumers worry about making online payments and sharing their financial information, according to the survey. Another study, “Digging into Digital Wallets Series” published in December 2020 by Alpha Wise and commissioned by Morgan Stanley, found that 59 per cent of respondents said they use, or prefer to use PayPal when shopping online.

A Critical Convenience

“Over and over again, people kept asking if we accepted PayPal as a payment method,” said Mohamed Soliman, who founded Couryah, a grocery and essentials delivery company, with his brother Omar in Halifax in 2019. “We wanted to build a company based on customer service and trust and implementing PayPal helped us tremendously with that. At the time, no one was familiar with Couryah, but everyone knew and trusted the PayPal brand.”

Today, 20 per cent of their revenue comes through PayPal. “It’s an incredibly important part of our business,” said Omar Soliman. “Not just for payments but for managing the business.”

Monty said PayPal’s popularity among consumers and retailers is due in large part to the company’s fraud detection software.

“There are a lot of roadblocks that can happen for customers while they are online shopping,” Monty said. “A company needs to think about mobile optimization, having up-to-date inventory, an easy and efficient checkout process but if a customer doesn’t feel safe making a transaction, none of that matters. “Companies need to think about the value of partnering with an e-commerce platform that can give them and their customers that peace of mind, particularly when it comes to shopping online for items that are essential, such as groceries,” he added. “Online grocery shopping has become a critical convenience for everyday people, not only during a pandemic but as part of our regular, busy lives. We have a real opportunity here to make a difference.”

For more information on how PayPal can help your company be more competitive, visit PayPal for Enterprise ( and get in touch.
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