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Cross-Shopping Picks Up Across the Digital Channel

New Brick Meets Click/Mercatus data also affirms popularity of pickup
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Online Grocery Data
Source: Brick Meets Click/Mercatus survey, Oct. 2023.

Consumers are turning to mass retailers to fulfill online grocery orders, according to the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey. The research shows that the monthly active user (MAU) base in the mass channel grew 29% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis.

That surge can be attributed to value-seeking shopping behaviors, combined with a need for convenience during a time of busy fall schedules. “The mass format, and particularly Walmart, continues to attract a larger share of MAUs as U.S. households search for ways to save money,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “The share of MAUs who bought from mass has grown over 11 percentage points since last year, finishing at more than 50% this October.”

While much of the growth has been in the mass market, traditional grocery stores are also experiencing an uptick as the e-commerce market continues to shake out in the post-pandemic era. The new Brick Meets Click/Mercatus survey found that grocery’s MAU base rose 6% over the same time last year, with many shoppers over the age of 60 propelling that expansion. 

Cross-shopping remains popular on the digital side of the food retailing business. The survey revealed steady growth in the cross-shopping rate between mass and grocery. In October, the percentage of consumers who ordered online in both channels jumped 680 basis points over October 2022. More than a third (34%) of those who buy online at grocery stores also place e-comm orders with mass stores. 

[Read more: "How Grocers Can Achieve Profit on Online Orders"]

In all, the online grocery market hit $8.2 million sales for the 12-month period ending Oct. 31. Within the e-comm channel, pickup and delivery models performed better than ship-to-home, with pickup continuing to gain steam among users. 

Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO at Mercatus, noted that opportunities remain for traditional grocers. “As today’s regional grocers focus on improving operational aspects of their online grocery services, they continue to face stiff headwinds from economic and competitive pressures,” he said. “To mitigate these challenges, grocers should identify ways to differentiate their online shopping experience, such as highlighting private label products, amplifying personalization efforts, and/or offering unique rewards and promotions that include product sampling.”

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