• Online Grocery Shopping Continues to Surge

  • Online Grocery Shopping Continues to Surge

    More than 50% of consumers order groceries online weekly.

    February 09, 2021

    NEW YORK—Online grocery usership in January 2021 grew year over year by 27.17%, according to a national grocery consumer research study released by Chicory, a digital shopper marketing platform.

    According to the research, 52.58% of consumers place an online grocery order once a week or more, while 47.42% order once a month or more infrequently. Last month, 69% of shoppers completed a $50-$75 online shopping trip.

    While both Walmart (+0.52%) and Amazon (+8.52%) gained online grocery users year over year, other retailers acquired new users, indicating that there are more online grocery users in the market compared to a year ago. Here is how the amount of online grocery users shifted for each retailer year over year:

    • Walmart: +0.52%
    • Amazon: +8.52%
    • Kroger: +23.60%
    • Instacart: +47.90%
    • Shop & Shop/Giant Foods: +26.17%
    • Shipt: +56.96%
    • Albertsons/Safeway: +7.80%

    "It’s no coincidence that grocery marketplaces Shipt and Instacart had the largest increases in online grocery users year over year compared to other retailers from pre-COVID-19 to present," said Yuni Sameshima, CEO and co-founder, Chicory. "It's clear that shoppers value the versatility and convenience of retailer choice and an emphasis on the rapid delivery portion of the business, rather than retailer loyalty. Further, Instacart's grocery delivery model has the most versatility and flexibility to scale compared to a brick-and-mortar retailer."

    The study found that most respondents (64.86%) add to their shopping cart weekly or more often, following typical shopping list building habits, and 26% more consumers place an online grocery order once a week as compared to a year ago.

    "Interestingly, the frequency at which consumers place an online grocery order was nearly the same in January 2021 compared to October 2020," said Sameshima. "January 2021 survey results found an almost even split between consumers who place an online grocery order once a week or more often (52.58%) and those who do so once a month or more infrequently (47.42%).

    “This continues to demonstrate that there are two distinct online grocery users: those who regularly use online grocery services to replace their regular in-store shopping and those who use online grocery services to supplement their in-person trips for specialty or bulky items,” said Sameshima.

    According to Chicory, 31.79% of consumers who place an online grocery order once a week also shop for their groceries in-store once a week, while 30.64% of consumers who place an online grocery order once a week also shop in-store a few times a month.

    The researchers also asked respondents if the adoption of the COVID-19 vaccine would impact their likelihood to shop for groceries in-store vs. online and discovered a near 50-50 split between consumers who will remain online grocery users and those who will transition to in-store.

    Chicory believes consumers are split between online grocery and in-store, but that doesn't mean that they will shop exclusively on one platform or the other. Shoppers have developed omnichannel habits and frequently use both digital and physical channels to complete their grocery purchases. Researchers predict this will increase as previously infrequent online grocery shopping behavior becomes more commonplace.