Walmart wins in grocery pickup, while Amazon dominates delivery, survey says
- Only 20% of Americans have used a grocery pickup service, according to Offers.com's Grocery Survey 2019. and they are primarily located in the southern U.S., with hot spots in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi. Among those who reported trying grocery pickup, 39% opted for Walmart's service, while 25% tried a local grocery chain's service. Target came in third at 15%.
- The survey of more than 2,000 shoppers found that about 23% have used a grocery delivery service, with densely populated regions in the U.S., like the Northeast, having the highest proportion of grocery delivery users. Washington state is top for grocery delivery users, and Amazon dominates the grocery delivery arena, with 30% of shoppers having tried the service followed by Walmart (20%). About 18% of those surveyed reported using Instacart.
- Consumers who haven't tried either service cited concerns with produce quality, high fees and the company forgetting items. A handful of shoppers worry that their goods will be stolen from their doorstep or that the store won't substitute out-of-stock items.
Offering a look at shopper behavior on a state-by-state basis, this survey offers retailers a glimpse of where they're resonating with shoppers and why their services may or may not be used. Major urban cores such as New York yielded some of the lowest adoption rates for grocery pickup, potentially due to the fact that picking up groceries requires owning a vehicle and finding a parking spot. This helps explain why, in turn, most densely populated metro areas have some of the highest adoption rates for grocery delivery.
Another interesting result is the strength of pickup in the South, especially because Walmart is the top option for click- and-collect, according to the study. Clearly the retailer's efforts in grocery have paid off in and around its home state of Arkansas, where the company has a strong presence and a long history.
Walmart's domination is attributable to a few factors, starting with its immense footprint. More than 1,000 store locations across the U.S. offer in-car pickup for free on orders over $30. Walmart has also made significant strides with its pickup service, working hard in the last few years to increase its product offerings and expand availability of pickup.
For now, grocery pickup appears to be something that consumers are using on an occasional basis, with 19% of survey respondents saying that they use the service a few times a month, and 16% saying they use it weekly. A small percentage (7%) reported using pickup services multiple times per week, and repeat users tend to prefer Walmart's service.
When it comes to grocery delivery, however, findings show that Amazon reigns supreme, with a captive audience of around 100 million shoppers who already subscribe to its Prime service. Prime members can access two-hour grocery delivery, as well as free Prime Pantry shipping on orders over $35. Prime costs $119 per year and includes special pricing at Whole Foods, so users may be motivated to get the most bang for their subscription bucks. Despite its inconsistent grocery offering, Amazon has the grocery delivery market cornered — though the report said Instacart is a strong competitor.
The study suggests that Walmart's massive reach means it's well positioned to convert in-store shoppers to curbside pick-up users, but when it comes to online shopping many people are still associating the endeavor with Amazon. Walmart's territory may soon be under threat, however, as Amazon recently announced plans to launch a new grocery chain. On the flipside Walmart's e-commerce sales have grown 43%, putting the pressure on Amazon.
The dark horse in the e-commerce battle is likely Target, which has been slow to get traction in grocery, but continues to make gains in the space, especially with its popular Drive Up service and grocery delivery through Shipt.
It's not clear why some key players, particularly Kroger, are absent from the survey, but it's important to note that Kroger is still a major player in grocery e-commerce. The retailer has made a big push to offer same-day grocery delivery through Instacart as well as its own service, Kroger Ship. It has also offered click-and-collect at its stores for a few years now.