More Swings in E-Comm Buying Behavior

Brick Meets Click/Mercatus research shows gains in delivery and variations in sales on a monthly and quarterly level
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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BMC - Sept
Source; Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, September 2022

If the overall grocery channel is splintering, so is e-commerce. The latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey reveals some shifts across the digital channel, with changing fulfillment choices and ups and downs in sales.

According to the new research, overall online grocery sales slid 3% in September on a year-over-year (YoY) basis. That said, sales for the third quarter grew 4% from the previous year.

Consumers’ choice of fulfillment, along with an economy hit by inflation and a comparatively quiet COVID time, factored into the mixed-bag results, according to David Bishop, partner at Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click. “These quarterly results reflect the fact that there are now an increasing number of ways to receive e-grocery orders via delivery,” he observed. “Today, customers who want to shop their local grocery store typically have the choice of several different delivery providers and platforms, but that is not necessarily the case for pickup. In addition, national grocers are investing in growing more integrated first-party services that could offer a more acceptable alternative for customers attracted to delivery.”

To Bishop’s point, pickup had been gaining steam for many months during and following the peak of the pandemic. This latest survey shows that pickup remains the largest mode for e-commerce sales, but that pickup sales fell 6% last month compared with September 2021. The slowing of pickup during September and the third quarter was attributed to shifts in the user base and order frequency, offset by higher spending each month.

At the same time, the online marketplace saw gains in grocery delivery as delivery sales climbed 20% on a quarterly basis and as the monthly active user (MAU) base also grew.  Brick Meets Click and Mercatus credited new delivery options offered by national retailers and third-party providers for the uptick.

As in previous months, the ship-to-home method lagged, with a 17% drop in sales from Q3 2021 to Q2 2022. On a YoY monthly basis, ship to home was down 19% during September.

The regular Brick Meets Click/Mercatus surveys also take a look at cross-shopping between grocery and mass channels. Toggling between channels grew during September and the third quarter, according to the latest findings.

Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Toronto-based Mercatus, noted that e-tailers are achieving success by focusing on customer demands and effectively managing current resources. “Getting an online customer to shop again is directly linked to the shopping experience, from the moment they start to build a basket to the moment they receive it. Retailers who can consistently deliver against the promise and expectations associated with online grocery shopping are being rewarded by customers with repeat business,” Perrier noted.

More survey results are available online.

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