Brick Meets Click started monitoring e-commerce grocery sales on a monthly basis in March, and the numbers were impressive: Delivery and pickup sales had grown from $1.2 billion in August 2019 to $4 billion in March 2020, but fast-forward two months, and there seems to be no ceiling in sight.
Sales in April increased to $5.3 billion, and now the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey, fielded May 20-22, shows an additional 24% sales increase in May, to $6.6 billion.
“COVID-19 has accelerated online grocery adoption at a rate the industry hadn’t expected to see for years,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Toronto-based Mercatus. “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.”
The total number of online grocery orders in May increased 18% on a month-over-month basis to 73.5 million, from 62.5 million in April. Household penetration hit 33% in May (up from 31% in April), as approximately 43 million customers shopped online for groceries during the previous 30-day period.
“COVID-19 is affecting the way people shop for groceries, and this research helps retailers to better understand where they need to invest in their online and in-store businesses,” said David Bishop, partner at Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click.
Grocers and e-commerce services have been increasing capacity to make it easier for customers to secure time slots as demand surges.
May’s average monthly purchase frequency climbed 10% versus April, and the average order value climbed nearly 6% to $90 in May. What consumers are shopping for, however, has changed somewhat as well. May's survey found that 14% of households that purchased private label products said that they bought more store brands than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shopper satisfaction remains a challenge with online pickup and delivery during this time. Research from 2019 shows 80% of people were extremely or very likely to shop the same provider again within the next 30 days, but these numbers have plummeted in the past three months to 47% in March, 50% in April and now 56% in May.
Brick Meets Click conducted this online survey on May 20-22 with 1,724 adults, 18 years and older, who participated in the household’s grocery shopping. The company will host a webinar on Tuesday, June 16, to further analyze the May Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey.