Kroger's Twitter post generated negative responses from customers pointing out that "digital only" leaves some people out of the equation: "My 79-year-old mother relies on the printed ad to make her grocery list. You're disregarding the elderly & those who don't have the capability to use apps. Just another business decision to show older customers you don't care for their business." Meyersohn adds, "According to Pew Research Center, 39% of people 65 and over do not own a smartphone, and 25% don't use the internet. Additionally, 24% of adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year don't own a smartphone, while 41% don't have a computer. . . . A Stanford University study in 2006 found that at least 10% of shoppers chose their store based on the week's ads and that shoppers were most influenced when the ads promoted discounts on cereal, chips, pizza, cookies and hot dogs."
At a time when inflation and producer profit-boosting have increased grocery prices, the loss of print ads is especially painful. Meyersohn reports, "This means that millions of older and low-income shoppers — the people who often depend on promotions the most to stretch their dollars — will be shut out of online deals." Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and founder of Consumer World, told Meyerson, "This becomes inconvenient for shoppers who, up until now, could do easy comparison shopping just by flipping the pages of competing stores' circulars at their kitchen table."