Posted: 26 Aug. 2020 4 min. read

Grocery retailers: Consumers trust you with their data, to a point


Grocery stores have been venturing into the digital world for years now. It’s almost unthinkable to walk into a grocery store without a loyalty card these days. And during this pandemic, we’ve seen how online purchasing of groceries has stepped up and is going to be further refined. These two digital forays alone offer grocers a wealth of personal data to use. The question, then is, should they, and to what extent?

To answer this, Deloitte Global and Ahold Delhaize embarked on a study of consumer attitudes toward personal data collection and usage. The results open a window into the striking opportunity grocers have when it comes to using personal data: 70% of respondents said they were willing to share their data with grocery stores, after hospitals and government institutions. That’s more than for non-grocery retailers, financial institutions, and digital and social media platforms.  

Simply put, consumers trust their grocery store. It’s not hard to see why. There’s probably no other retailer that figures more in the routines of a consumer’s life than a grocery store. Everybody has to eat. They’re familiar and constant. And that trust could be the key to a grocery retailers’ quest to translate consumer data into a personalized, differentiated shopping experience.

But grocers need to tread a fine line. Consumers are smart. They want the usage of their data to improve their lives—along with transparency and control. The survey points to some key do’s—and one major don’t—when it comes to personal data. Do 100% guarantee the safety of consumers’ data. Do make it easy for them to choose what kind of data they share. Do allow them to decide the level of personalization. But don’t share their data with any other third party without explicit consent.

To capitalize on this digital opportunity, grocer retailers need to think creatively. Product, price, promotion, and placement are no longer enough to inspire customer loyalty and help retailers stand out from the crowd. They also need to recognize that one size does not fit all. There is no “typical” customer, as the survey reveals. Attitudes toward how data is used range considerably across countries, ages of respondents, and comfort level with online transactions.

The beauty of data, though, is that it now enables grocers to tailor their digital products. Hyper-personalization is rapidly becoming a reality. Retailers just need to figure out what matters to their customer. Health? Sustainability? Ethical sourcing? Convenience? Affordability? With hyper-personalization, grocers can target any one of these.

No doubt it’ll be tempting for grocery retailers to barrel forward with these new capabilities and go for the easy win of simply selling more. Not only will that impact the ultimate differentiation of a retailer in the market, it could undermine the trust a consumer has in their store. Consumers want to see demonstrable advantages in exchange for that trust—and their personal data—not a just a thinly veiled sales pitch. As long as grocery retailers remember that, personalized digital products could very well be the next big trend to hit the aisles.

To learn more about consumers and their attitudes toward sharing data with retailers, see the report, The consumer data give and take, from Deloitte Global and Ahold Delhaize. To learn more about Deloitte’s consumer practice, visit

Key contact

Adgild Hop

Adgild Hop

European Grocery Lead Partner

Adgild is the Market Lead for Retail in the Netherlands for Deloitte Consulting. Adgild’s expertise lies in strategy & transformation consulting for the retail sector, covering e.g. omnichannel customer propositions, customer journeys, channel transformation, advanced analytics, digital strategy, store transformation and operational strategy. Adgild has an outstanding track record of supporting retail clients through end-end retail transformation programs, from analysis & design through to delivery, and typically develops excellent working relationships at executive level with his clients. Examples of his clients include Albert Heijn,, Heineken, Delhaize, Tesco, IKEA, Waitrose, Burberry, Dunnhumby, Morrisons, Homebase, Clarks, Game Group, Volkswagen, Audi, KLM, British Airways

Stefan van Duin

Stefan van Duin

Partner, Analytics & Cognitive

Stefan is expert in the area of Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Stefan is convinced that more and more companies count data analytics to their core competencies; to develop better products or services, new business models and personalized customer experiences. He made it his mission to help these companies on their journey. His main focus is on organizations that operate in Consumer Products or Retail sector.

Hilary Richters

Hilary Richters

Senior Manager, Data Ethics

Hilary has over 12 years of experience in executing large and complex regulatory remediation and compliance data driven projects as well as executing regulatory transformation projects within the Financial sector. The projects that she lead are highly focused on data and has observed the increasing prominence of AI in the later years to assist in the efficient and effective delivery of business outcomes. During her years as remediation / transformation manager she saw an evolution in the use of data and its increasing importance over time. Over these years Hilary has seen tremendous growth in possibilities in how technology and data can be used, in good - as well as in the wrong way. As is often the case with disruptive new technologies like AI, regulation is trailing behind the expectations of stakeholders. The standard for being perceived as a responsible business is much higher than merely adhering to laws and regulations. Because her interest in helping clients to do good for their clients and society through the use of innovative technologies, Hilary set up the Digital Ethics team and together with this team created the Digital ethics program. This program helps clients to use their data and/ or technologies in a responsible way.