Online Grocery Sales Soar Over March Records

Online Grocery Sales Soar Over March Records
The latest Brick Meets Click/Symphony RetailAI Online Grocery Survey shows impressive April numbers, increasing sales, average spend, orders, customers and frequency

Online shopping doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon, catapulted by COVID-19. E-commerce grocery sales for home delivery or store pickup reached $5.3 billion in April 2020, a 37% increase over March sales, which were already a new record. 

The latest Brick Meets Click/Symphony RetailAI Online Grocery Survey was conducted April 22-25, with 1,651 adults, and using a similar method to the March research.

The April survey provides fresh insights into the motivators contributing to shoppers' increased adoption of online grocery pickup and delivery:

  1. Fear of contracting the coronavirus: 47% of all the households surveyed reported a high level of concern about getting the virus.
  2. Recent loss of income: 39% of all respondents reported a 25% or greater drop in their monthly income compared with the January/February 2020 time period. This represents an estimated 49 million households, a number that goes well beyond unemployment figures, since many of these people still have work, but are earning less.

"These two factors are particularly important for retailers to understand,” said David Bishop, partner at Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click. “The level of concern that customers have about health affects how they choose to shop – online or in-store – and the loss of income impacts where consumers shop and what they buy." 

The results also found that 26% of the households that had not bought groceries online in the last 30 days said that they were extremely or very likely to try online shopping in the next three months. This data offers future opportunity for food retailers. 

“The ongoing shifts in spending mean that retailers will need to work carefully in applying historical sales data to forecast future sales, if they are going to be accurately aligned with shoppers,” said Kevin Sterneckert, chief marketing officer of Dallas-based Symphony RetailAI.  “True demand, which includes lost sales and other characteristics beyond transactions at the register, is crucially important here. Today’s retail winners will be those that best understand their customers and can meet and exceed their expectations the fastest.”


Compared with March, April saw a 33% increase in the total number of online orders made per month and a 3% increase in order size from $82 to $85 as households continue to stock up on essential products. 

The total number of U.S. households shopping online for groceries increased slightly more than 1% to about 40 million for April. These online shoppers placed an average of 1.6 orders for either delivery or pickup during the past 30 days, compared with 1.2 orders during March.

Shopper satisfaction improved only slightly during the month, based on the likelihood to repeat their order. Half of households said that they were likely to shop from the same provider again, compared with 47% in March.

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