Click-and-collect continues to claim a growing slice of online grocery purchases, with sales share increasing five points between January and February, according to the latest e-commerce report from Brick Meets Click.
“As a result, pickup captured nearly half of all online grocery sales in February and grows in importance as it continues to capture a larger share of sales,” the firm wrote in its announcement.
Pickup and delivery sales totaled $6.1 billion in February, down $1 billion from January’s total as the number of online shoppers and purchase frequency both declined, according to Brick Meets Click. Total online sales for the month was $8 billion, down from $9.3 billion in January.
Pickup continues to gain momentum as shoppers turn to the service’s lower fees and the familiar routine of traveling to their local store.
The growth highlighted in Brick Meets Click’s latest report comes as grocers continue to expand the service’s availability, slash fees and introduce convenience-boosting enhancements like pickup lockers. Retailers appreciate the favorable economics of pickup amid a foundational shift to margin-dilutive online sales driven by the pandemic.
There are worrying signs in the latest data, however. Among first-time pickup users polled in late February, less than 30% said they were “very” or “extremely” likely to use the service again. That compares with the 40% of first-time delivery users who said they plan to.
“These scores are concerning as pickup is only becoming more vital to brick-and-mortar retailers for both strategic and economic reasons,” David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, said in the announcement.
While pickup has continued to gain sales share, that growth could level off in the months ahead as delivery options — mainly third-party operators like Instacart, Shipt and DoorDash — continue to evolve. This indicates an opportunity for grocers to boost customer service for click-and-collect as well as innovations that save time and increase value. Albertsons and Ahold Delhaize are now dabbling in pickup lockers and kiosks, while Walmart now offers product samples inside pickup orders. Retailers across the U.S. are also introducing technology that slashes curbside wait times.
Delivery and pickup orders combined made up more than three-quarters of U.S. online grocery sales in February — a slight increase from the back half of 2020, according to Brick Meets Click.
As the end of the pandemic approaches, it appears that shoppers are shifting back to in-store purchases. The number of monthly active online shoppers dropped 12% between January and February, to 60.1 million, while order frequency declined 6%. The average order value increased 4%, while the average order size for pickup and delivery reached $82, which is 55% higher than average orders placed through ship-to-home services.
More than 40% of the reduction in active users came among consumers over the age of 60, indicating many senior citizens are returning to in-store shopping.