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New Survey Confirms Acceleration of Delivery/Pickup Models

Brick Meets Click/Mercatus research shows year-over-year gains in online grocery ordering
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
New Survey Confirms Acceleration of Delivery/Pickup Models
More shoppers are opting for grocery pickup and delivery over ship-to-home service, research reveals.

Although the pandemic has been a significant disruption to people’s lives, retailers in the food and consumables space have been striving to provide a seamless, consistent experience to their shoppers. The latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey shows that grocers continue to cover more ground across the omnichannel, offering choices to consumers facing renewed uncertainty and ebb-and-flow restrictions.

According to the new research, online sales rose 4.7% from August 2020 to August 2021 to reach $8.6 billion, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 fueled fresh concerns about in-person shopping. While consumers opted for home shipments during the first few months of the pandemic, today’s convenience-oriented buyers are going for the combined delivery/pickup segment, which spiked 16%  from this time last year to reach $6.6 billion; breaking it down more, pickup grew almost 50% and delivery expanded by nearly 30%. In comparison, ship-to-home sales declined 22% in that same time frame.

“COVID’s resurgence has clearly contributed to the August sales gain,” said David Bishop, partner, Brick Meets Click. “While retailers don’t control the external market forces, such as the new wave of COVID cases that continued through August, they can choose how effectively their business is positioned to respond to the current circumstances that are disrupting their customers’ lives.”

As grocers work to meet shoppers where they are, they can also heed the fact that many people continue to spread their food dollars around. The Brick Meets Click/Mercatus poll reveals that 26% of online shoppers used both a grocery service and a mass/discount service to buy groceries during August, a slight uptick from the previous month.  

“While COVID has transformed customer behavior, the fundamentals of acquisition, retention and repeat purchase still apply,” observed Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Mercatus. “The more successful grocers continue to dive deeper into their customer data to better understand what’s building and, equally important, what’s hindering stronger engagement. This insight driven approach is enabling retailers to learn to what degree they need to improve elements of strategy and/or execution.”

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