Online grocers have made a huge splash in recent years and are anticipated to continue doing so, according to new research from Rockville, Md.-based market research firm Packaged Facts.
Grocery ecommerce saw sales triple between 2013 and 2018, according to the new report "Online Grocery Shopping in the U.S., 2nd Edition." Further, through 2023, sales are anticipated to more than quadruple as online options become more available and consumers become more open to trying online grocers or using them more frequently.
In the online grocery market, most growth has occurred since 2016 as ecommerce platforms and conventional grocery stores grew both their participation and their geographic footprint with expanded service areas. One example of this growth is Aldi's partnership with Instacart to introduce grocery delivery in three cities – a program that's now expanding nationwide.
The report also found that:
- Amazon and Walmart currently are the market's key participants, accounting for a combined 28 percent of online grocery sales
- Instacart, Kroger, FreshDirect and Peapod represent other large providers in the grocery ecommerce market, with Instacart being its largest third-party pack-and-deliver company
- Packaged Facts anticipates Walmart, No. 1 on Progressive Grocer's 2018 list of the top grocers in the United States, to dominate as a grocer: Nationwide presence and a large number of rural stores give it a competitive advantage in expanding online grocery shopping to much of the U.S. population
"Three key factors have created a perfect environment for growth of the online grocery market in the U.S. over the last five years," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "There’s been increased use of mobile phones and smartphones, interfaces for websites and mobile apps have improved, and there's been a notable expansion of crowd-sourced business models to shopping and delivery."