Online grocery growth continues amid COVID-19

Online grocery growth continues amid COVID-19

New research has found that total online grocery orders, household penetration of online grocery, and average purchase frequency among online grocery users all increased in May.

“COVID-19 has accelerated online grocery adoption at a rate the industry hadn’t expected to see for years,” Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, a firm that helps grocery retailers develop their digital presence, said in a news release. “The online surge may level off slightly as various states strive to return to ‘normal.’ However, what has changed in shoppers’ eyes is the realization of the immediate benefits of online grocery shopping.”

In May, online grocery sales reached $6.6 billion, according to a survey fielded by Mercatus and retail consulting firm Brick Meets Click. Sales were 24% higher in May than April.

The total number of orders grew from 62.5 million in April to 73.5 million in May, according to the release. Household penetration hit 33%, up from 31% in April.

Average purchase frequency increased 10% from April to May, with active households placing an average of 1.7 orders for delivery or pickup. Average order value also grew, reaching $90 in May, an uptick of nearly 6%.

The research also showed shopper satisfaction climbing closer to pre-COVID levels, according to the release. In March, only 47% said they were extremely or very likely to shop the same provider again within the next 30 days. That number grew to 50% in April and to 56% in May. However, Brick Meets Click’s previous research indicated that pre-COVID rates for repeat purchase intent were much higher, closer to 80%.

“COVID-19 has made it clearer than ever that moving forward, trust between the retail brand and its shoppers is core to a healthy and long-term relationship,” Perrier said in the release. “Shoppers at every income level and demographic will continue to expect an efficient, effective and safe online order and fulfillment experience and will reward grocers who provide this with continued loyalty.”