Online Grocery Sales Back up to $9.3B in March, Pickup Remains Dominant
Online grocery sales rose again in March after falling in February, according to new data released today by Brick Meets Click / Mercatus. Food e-commerce in the US had sales of $ 9.3 billion (as of January). More than 69 million households placed an average of 2.8 orders in March.
Brick Meets Click also highlighted the continued dominance of roadside pickup as the main preference for online grocery shoppers. From the Brick Meets Click announcement:
“Over the past 12 months, the dramatic consumer shift to online grocery shopping has solidified. Roadside pickup has the largest percentage of monthly shoppers at 53% compared to home shipping and delivery,” said Sylvain Perrier, President and CEO. Mercatus. “In fact, in all market types, pickup continues to have stronger consumer demand compared to delivery. Those brick and mortar chains that have likely invested in optimizing their pick-up services are likely to continue to benefit from the high repeat intent rate, as indicated in the data. “
The dominance of roadside pickup can be attributed in part to the fact that large retailers have invested so much in it. From expanded drive-up options to smart lockers to automated roadside pick-up kiosks, retailers have increased the availability and convenience of roadside options.
One area of online grocery shopping that fell year-over-year was the ship-to-home category, which lost 27 percent of monthly users. In addition to the more robust pickup and delivery options for local retailers, the first wave of the pandemic saw many panic buying and inventory failures last year. Because of this, people turned to every point of sale to bring groceries home, including CSAs and online meat vendors.
The question we’ve been asking ourselves for a few months, of course, is what the future holds for online groceries. More people are fully vaccinated and able to return to (relatively) normal lives outside their homes. Have their pandemic grocery shopping behaviors changed for good? Or do you miss roaming the hallways? The actual numbers that are seen will likely be the statistics by May if the two-week post-vaccination wait really begins.