- In a new survey by LendingTree, grocery delivery topped the list of pandemic-era splurges that shoppers say they plan to keep spending money on over the long run.
- Thirty percent of the more than 1,200 consumers surveyed in December said they had spent money on grocery delivery to help them feel safer during the pandemic, topping a list of options that included high-quality face masks (28%), high-quality vitamins (22%) and a Costco or Sam's Club membership (13%).
- That surge in popularity may last long after the pandemic, according to the LendingTree survey, which found that nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan to continue to spend extra on grocery delivery in the coming years.
Grocery delivery and pickup boomed last year to make up a significant portion of sales, topping $7.2 billion in June 2020, when nearly one-third of households surveyed by Brick Meets Click said they were “extremely or very likely” to use an online grocery service in the next three months. Usage has fallen off since then, but other reports note online shopping has become a service many consumers plan to use over the long-term, spurring retailers to adjust their approaches to marketing and fulfillment.
Albertsons has begun transitioning to third-party delivery services in numerous markets, reversing course on a staffed program it began scaling several years ago. Others, like Kroger and Hy-Vee, have rolled out premium membership programs that include unlimited free delivery, among other perks.
Despite delivery's popularity, it hasn't grown as quickly during the pandemic as click-and-collect. Experts say that'sn partly due to delivery's higher fees, underscoring the need for retailers to bring down costs and add value for shoppers. Walmart, for one, announced this week it's testing delivery to secure, temperature-controlled boxes that sit outside shoppers' homes, joining other recent efforts to add time flexibility to the service.
The LendingTree survey indicates rising financial insecurity could undercut consumers' willingness to make "splurge" purchases like delivery. Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed by the company felt that they would “never feel secure in their financial position again," while 55% said that they would keep saving as much as possible in case the pandemic returned.