- Conventional grocers posted a 6.8% decline in online sales during the 12-week period that ended Sept. 28 compared with the same stretch in 2020, according to data released Tuesday by Brick Meets Click.
- Stores that offered the option of pickup or delivery recorded online sales that were 55% higher than locations where only pickup was available and 44% more than stores offering only delivery, the research showed. Forty-nine percent of stores covered by the research offered customers both fulfillment channels.
- Operators of traditional supermarkets are facing strong competition from mass retailers online, which have been attracting growing interest from e-commerce shoppers.
The data from Brick Meets Click suggests the e-commerce sales boom that grocers have seen since the start of the pandemic has reached a high water point, at least for the time being.
The figures, which are part of the research company's eGrocery Performance Benchmarking 2021 Wave, reflect mainly first-party transactional data from 876 grocery stores collected during the 12 weeks that concluded Sept. 28, 2021, and Sept. 29, 2020.
The number of e-commerce orders traditional supermarket operators brought in per week fell 3.1%, to 172, between the time frames covered by the research, while the size of the average order decreased 3.9%, to $106, contributing to the overall drop in sales, Brick Meets Click observed. The length of time a store had been selling groceries online was not a significant factor in its e-commerce performance, a change from the dynamic seen before the pandemic.
The size of the market where a grocery store is located appears to correlate with its online sales performance, the data shows. Stores in medium-sized markets brought in higher weekly sales than those in larger markets, which Brick Meets Click said probably reflects an increase in the number of online shopping options available in areas with higher populations.
Shoppers have been signaling growing interest in directing their online grocery orders to mass merchants like Target and Walmart that have a large online presence, putting pressure on traditional grocers. Respondents to a survey conducted by Brick Meets Click in late November indicated they were more likely to place a repeat online order with a mass retailer than with a traditional grocer.
Meanwhile, nearly 70% of participants in a survey Grocery Dive conducted in October in partnership with Inmar Intelligence said they preferred Amazon, Walmart or membership-based merchants like Sam's Club or Costo when buying center store products online. Fewer than 10% of respondents listed their local supermarket as their top choice.