- Grocery e-commerce sales came in at $8.6 billion in November, up 6% from the level they registered in October, according to the latest survey data from Brick Meets Click and Mercatus, released Monday.
- Pickup sales were up 29% in November, while delivery grew at a much slower 6% rate. Almost 69 million U.S. households purchased groceries via e-commerce during the month, 15% more than in November 2020.
- Online sales have accounted for more than 10% of total weekly grocery spending by shoppers in the United States throughout 2021, compared with less than 2% before the start of the pandemic.
The overall increase in online grocery purchases last month was driven to a large extent by growing interest by consumers in buying food online from mass retailers like Target and Walmart, suggesting traditional food stores may be losing critical ground to mass merchandisers as people's "new normal" shopping strategies morph into habits.
Online grocery customers are more likely to direct repeat business to mass merchants than to grocery stores, and the divide between the two retail segments is growing, according to the survey, which was conducted Nov. 29 and 30. In addition, the findings show that mass retailers are benefiting disproportionately from an increase in the active shopper base, with some food retailers seeing lower sales last month even as the online grocery market expanded.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the increase in the number of shoppers who regularly place online grocery orders is being led by people 30 to 44 years old. This cohort now accounts for more than 50% of growth among what the survey calls monthly active users.
"Failing to attract early-stage family households can affect growth prospects, and if the shopping experience isn’t comparable to Mass rivals, that’s definitely hurting performance,” Brick Meets Click Partner David Bishop said in a statement.
Pickup and delivery together tallied $7 billion, or 81%, of the $8.6 billion in online grocery sales retailers posted in November. The ship-to-home segment, which includes orders transported by services like the United States Postal Service, UPS and Fedex, accounted for the remaining $1.6 billion, a figure that was down slightly from its level in October. Ship-to-home grocery sales have fallen 27% over the past year, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus said.
The research is in line with findings from a survey Grocery Dive conducted with Inmar Intelligence this fall that showed consumers were less likely to place online grocery orders with local grocery stores than with national merchants like Amazon, Walmart, Sam's Club or Costco.