Increased delivery, pickup use hoists U.S. online grocery sales

According to the Brick Meets Click / Mercatus Grocery Shopping survey, US online grocery sales rose again in January after declining from an early summer peak.

Online grocery sales were $ 9.3 billion in January, up 15% from $ 8.1 billion in the previous November survey, Brick Meets Click said Monday. Delivery and collection orders accounted for $ 7.1 billion, or 77% of online grocery spending, in January, up 16% from $ 5.9 billion, or 73%, in November. Ship-to-home sales from November through January were $ 2.2 billion.

The January gain was mainly driven by 16% growth in the number of households buying online, Brick Meets Click said. A total of 69.7 million US households placed an average of 2.8 orders for delivery, pick-up and ship-to-home services during the month.

In March last year – when the US declared COVID-19 a national emergency – online grocery delivery and collection sales had doubled to $ 4 billion ($ 6.5 billion including door-to-door purchases) and then peaked at $ 7.2 billion ($ 8.8 billion including shipping) -to-home) reported in June on Brick Meets Click, a Barrington, Illinois-based strategic consulting firm that is exploring the impact of the digital technology analyzed on the sale and marketing of food.

In its January survey, Brick Meets click and grocery e-commerce specialist Mercatus surveyed 1,776 U.S. adults from January 28 through January 31 who had grocery shopping in their household and had grocery shopping online in the past 30 days . The study included retailers, third-party sellers and online-only grocers for delivery transactions. In-store, curb, drive-up and locker options for pick-up requests; and parcel couriers such as Federal Express, UPS, and the US Postal Service for ship-to-home service.

Of the monthly active household users in January, 78% used a delivery or collection service, compared with 64% in November, while house-to-house use fell from 56% to 46%. Nevertheless, overall online grocery use in January fell well short of the record of 76.7 million households who bought online in April 2020. When much of the country lived under stay-at-home orders, Brick Meets Click noted.

“While many grocery stores continue to experience capacity constraints, especially for pickup, other market shares will grow as they expand or expand pickup to a larger store base,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, in a statement.

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Delivery and collection accounted for 66% of all online orders in January and gained almost six percentage points of the order share, according to the Brick Meets Click / Mercatus survey.

Delivery and pick-up increased nearly six percentage points of the order share in January, representing 66% of all online orders for the month, although the average number of online grocery orders by monthly active users remained at 2.8, essentially unchanged from November stayed. At the same time, the average order value in January decreased by almost 11% compared to November, based on the aggregated expense rates in the delivery, pickup and home shipping segments.

“While adding more manpower to the problem is not ideal, it is – along with improving assembly productivity through improved pick and pack practices – critical to staying competitive in the short term and not inadvertently giving your customers a reason to shop elsewhere. Bishop declared.

In fact, sharp falls in the “likelihood of returning to a particular service” study metric mitigated the sharp increases in the number of households shopping for groceries online in January, Brick Meets Click said. The indicator, which measures the proportion of customers who “extremely or very likely” will place another online order with the same provider within the next month, fell by over 32 percentage points to 56% in January after reaching a record high in November . Pickup saw the largest decrease in the probability of reuse metric, down 35 percentage points from November to January.

“The data suggests that retailers will face the challenge of retaining many online shoppers because the experience is below expectations,” said Sylvain Perrier, President and CEO of Mercatus.

Retail conditions and shifts in customer mix are responsible for part of the decline in repeat intent values ​​for online grocery purchases, according to the Brick Meets Click / Mercatus survey.

In January, the proportion of first-time customers who reported consistently lower intent rates in previous surveys rose by a total of three percentage points, and from November by more than six points for pick-up. Meanwhile, the repeat rate for seasoned shoppers dropped nearly 18 points in January from November, with retail conditions resulting in lower customer satisfaction, Brick Meets Click said. Newbies are buyers who have placed their first order with a particular service within the last three months, and seasoned customers are those who have placed at least four orders with a service in the last three months.

“To stay competitive with bulk retailers, regional grocers need to improve the digital shopping experience so that their customers don’t have to spend their money elsewhere,” added Perrier. “Grocers need to consider where they can improve operationally, how to scale efficiently to meet online demand, and which services are most effective for future sales protection.”

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