Grocery eCommerce Habits are Shifting for Consumers

Brittany Blackman
Mar 17, 2023

The pandemic radically changed the way consumers purchase groceries. For many, online grocery shopping and delivery was the logical thing to do amidst concerns of in-person contact. According to the latest monthly eCommerce report from Brick Meets Click and Mercatus, grocery eCommerce reached $8.8 billion in February, up 1.5% compared to last year.

As society ventures back into physical grocery shopping, a noticeable shift in consumer behavior has occurred. The results from the Brick Meets Click and Mercatus study hint that shopper behavior is shifting– but specifically among the most loyal users of grocery eCommerce platforms. 

The base of monthly active users describes the most engaged group of online shoppers. This sector saw an increase of more than 5% year-over-year in February. The same group saw its number of completed orders fall almost 9% year-over-year to its lowest level since March 2020.

David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, said in the announcement, “The expanding user base for online grocery illustrates its growing reach, but the changing role it plays is evident from contractions in the use of multiple receiving methods and average order frequency, which mostly muted the gains in reach.” 

The report also found that ship-to-home sales were the only grocery delivery channel that had an average order value increase for the month that surpassed  the rate of grocery inflation. Ship-to-home also reversed its months-long year-over-year sales decline, boasting around a 14% increase. 

The popular grocery pickup channel saw sales increase by around 2.5% year-over-year, while delivery contracted almost 9.4%. But for monthly active users, pickup has steadily recorded gains while delivery has not. 

It’s also becoming more evident that larger mass retailers are continuing to  pressure grocery eCommerce as they bring in more customers year-over-year. The monthly active user base for mass retailers grew over 20% in comparison to February 2022, while the the trusty active user base for grocers constricted to the “mid-to-upper single digits” for at least the second month in a row.

U.S. online grocery sales are projected to reach $36.3 billion in revenue this year, up from $20.1 in 2019, before the pandemic, according to market research analyst IBISWorld.

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Photo by Charles Gao on Unsplash

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