- The Walmart Grocery app has seen all-time highs in downloads and now ranks No. 1 among shopping apps in the U.S. as of April 7, 2020, according to a new analysis from tech firm App Annie.
- Walmart’s app has surpassed downloads of the Amazon app by 20%, the research found. Walmart Grocery saw 460% growth in average daily downloads as of April 5 compared to January of this year. Amazon, meanwhile, saw 20% growth in daily downloads over the same period.
- The Walmart Grocery app retained its top position for at least two days, according to the analysis. Last Thursday it was the top app on Google Play and the No. 2 app in Apple’s app store, TechCrunch reported.
Shopping apps have seen massive download surges since the novel coronavirus hit. Downloads in the U.S. hit 14.4 million during the week of March 29 to April 4, App Annie found, which was a 20% increase from the weekly average in January. Globally, shopping app downloads hit 106 million for that same week, up 15% from January’s weekly average.
In March, TechCrunch reported that Walmart planned to merge its separate grocery app with its primary Walmart app, a move that would streamline operations and possibly generate more grocery customers. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that the plan still remains, but at the moment the retailer is focused primarily on addressing customer feedback on the grocery experience.
Walmart’s existing infrastructure and intentional shift toward online grocery prior to COVID-19 has been a major benefit to the retailer during this time. Before the outbreak, grocery delivery was available from 1,600 stores and pickup from more than 3,200. But as with other grocers, the dramatic customer demand has caused limited pickup and delivery times, out-of-stocks and other related issues.
In response, Walmart is in the process of hiring 150,000 additional employees to staff stores and fulfillment centers, and Bloomberg reported that the retailer is only releasing pickup slots in two- to three-day increments rather than a week at a time. The move is intended to reduce pressure on employees and limit out-of-stock issues.
Target, Shipt and Instacart are among the other shopping apps that have seen big boosts in app downloads. In March, Apptopia reported record downloads for each, alongside Walmart. Instacart saw the biggest increase in downloads at 218%, while Target downloads jumped 98%.
Experts say the shift to online grocery could be permanent. Once customers have downloaded an app and learned how to shop online, it will become easier to repeat the process, Profitero’s Keith Anderson told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The pandemic could hasten wider adoption, according to analysis from BMO Capital Markets, and will push grocery stores of all sizes to speed up their online grocery capabilities.