The online grocery market finished March with $9.3 billion in sales, a return to January’s record spending levels, as over 69 million households placed an average of 2.8 online orders during the month, according to a grocery shopping survey conducted by Brick Meets Click and Mercatus.
The poll found that about 69.3 million households placed one or more online orders during March 2021, compared to 74.5 million during the same period a year ago when stay-at-home orders and retail restrictions first went into effect nationwide.
The 43% jump in sales versus year ago, when sales were $6.5 billion, quantifies the disruptive impact of a pandemic that continues to alter the way people get their groceries, according to the researchers.
While this represents a 7% decline in the monthly active user base, the drop was entirely driven by fewer households making online purchases shipped to the home via common or contract carriers.
The ship-to-home segment of the online grocery market lost 27% of its monthly users on year-over-year, while the pickup segment gained 12% and delivery gained 23%, showing how the pandemic changed the way we shop for groceries online.
“Over the last 12 months, consumers’ dramatic shift to online grocery shopping has solidified, with curbside pickup attracting the largest share of monthly shoppers at 53% compared to ship-to-home and delivery,” said Sylvain Perrier, president of Mercatus, an investment research firm.
“In fact, pickup continues to have stronger consumer demand across all market types compared to delivery. Those brick-and-mortar chains that have invested in optimizing pickup services likely will continue to benefit from the high repeat intent rate as indicated in the data.”