- Supermarket mobile app usage rose sharply during the first quarter of 2022, as consumers looking for relief from rising prices utilized these programs considerably more often than they did when the onset of the pandemic drove a surge in demand for grocery e-commerce two years ago, according to data from data tracking company Apptopia.
- Kroger had the highest market share among 10 grocery store apps as measured by user sessions and downloads during the first quarter, but its edge over second-place Albertsons has been on the decline and eroded again during the second quarter, Apptopia said.
- Apptopia said the increased interest in using grocers’ apps stems from shoppers’ concerns about costs as fuel and food prices have risen steeply in recent months.
Apptopia’s analysis makes clear that inflation has replaced concern about COVID-19 as the chief reason people are spending more time than ever using mobile devices to interact with grocery stores.
User sessions for apps offered by grocers were 13% higher in the first quarter of this year than during the same period in 2020, when the previous record was set, according to Apptopia. As further indication that inflation is driving interest in online grocery-shopping tools, sessions have been rising since late last year, when price increases began accelerating, and rose 77% in May on a year-over-year basis.
The heavy reliance by shoppers on apps as they contend with higher prices is placing pressure on grocers to make improvements to their tools, Apptopia noted. For example, the researchers detected heavy use of the keyword “cart” with a negative sentiment by online shoppers, suggesting that people are having problems with elements that are especially critical, like product availability, Apptopia said in its report, which was released last week.
In a sign that people are increasingly depending on grocery apps to point them to bargains, app reviews mentioning the word “coupon” were up 75% in May, compared with April, Apptopia said. In addition, reviewers have frequently mentioned Walmart when describing their experience using apps provided by Kroger, Meijer and Food Lion — a strong hint that they might abandon the grocery chains for the mass retailer, according to the data.
The research firm did not include Walmart in its analysis of user sessions and market share for the 10 grocery apps.
While Apptopia noted that the frequency of updates to an app is closely correlated with its market share, it noted that supermarket chains make enhancements at significantly different rates. Kroger and Albertsons push out new versions of their apps as often as every week, whereas others, such as Aldi, do so at a much slower pace, Apptopia said.
Data.ai, another firm that tracks interest in mobile platforms, has also been recording growing consumer interest in digital grocery tools provided by supermarket companies. Grocery delivery apps represented a quarter of all food and drink app downloads worldwide in the first quarter of 2022 and were up 40% year-over-year, the company shared on Wednesday. The number of sessions on the grocery delivery apps was up 70% during the quarter compared with the same period in 2021, the data company added.
Even as some people rely more heavily on mobile apps when shopping for groceries, a number of people are steering clear of ordering groceries online.
Sixty percent of people in a survey conducted between April 29 and May 3 by Morning Consult did not place an online grocery order during the past month, which was in line with the 62% of those polled between Oct. 29 and Nov. 3, 2021 who said the same then, the market intelligence firm reported earlier in June.