A lot of what you buy online, you eat

WASHINGTON — People are spending more and more online, and what they are spending the most buying online might surprise you.

“Food is what Americans are buying the most online,” Ted Rossman at CreditCards.com told WTOP.

“We found that 26 percent of U.S. adults are buying groceries online at least once a week, and 21 percent are buying prepared food online once a week — things like restaurant takeout or ordering ahead at Starbucks,” Rossman said.

Groceries and meal deliveries are among the most common online categories for consumers to make impulse purchases or overspend.

Buying groceries or dinner online is the same as going to the store or to the restaurant, so CreditCards.com suggests you make the best of it by using a credit card that rewards you.

“Food is a really hot area in credit card rewards right now,” Rossman said. “Just this week, the Citi Prestige announced that they are going to offer five points per dollar on dining. Earlier this year, Amex Gold upgraded to four points per dollar. Capital One Savor and Uber Visa are relatively new cards offering four points per dollar on dining spending.”

Behind food, the next-most common online purchases are still not consumer goods. They are travel, either airline tickets, hotel stays or ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft, and streaming services.

About 13 percent of Americans pay for streaming services at least once a week.

CreditCards.com’s survey results are based on more than 1,000 interviews of U.S. consumers between Sept. 28 and Sept. 30.

In addition to CreditCards.com, a new report by KPMG finds almost 59 percent of American consumers next year plan to do all or some of their grocery shopping online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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