US eGrocery Sales Trends with Brick Meets Click – September 2022 Insights
US eGrocery sales dipped by 3% YoY in September to $7.8 billion, while finishing ahead nearly 4% in the third quarter versus a year ago. This was primarily driven by significant gains in Delivery and to a lesser degree Pickup.
These findings are based on the Brick Meets Click and Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey fielded September 29-30, 2022, which provides detailed analysis of US eGrocery sales trends.
In September, around half the U.S. households bought groceries online. However, the fact remains that very few are really spending a disproportionate amount of their money online. Only around 20% of those, which would equate to roughly 10% of total US households, would spend 50% or more of their grocery dollars online during the past month. This suggests that online grocery shopping is a complement to the traditional in-store model.
Further, US eGrocery sales continued to grow in the third quarter of 2022, albeit at a slower pace than in previous quarters. The pickup segment was the largest contributor to this growth, with sales increasing by 1% despite a 6% drop in September sales compared to the same month last year. However, this growth was offset by ongoing expansion in the number of users and monthly spending. As such, US eGrocery sales are expected to continue growing at a moderate pace in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Grocery pickup’s monthly active users (MAUs) declined by 2% for the third quarter compared to last year. And online grocery order frequency followed a similar trend, as the number of orders received by active Pickup users expanded in July but shrank in August and September, dipping just over 1% for the quarter. Average order value (AOV) increased each month and finished up ahead 4% for the quarter versus 2021. Pickup ended the third quarter with a 44% share of total eGrocery sales, but down 1.2% versus a year ago.
Grocery delivery had a strong third quarter, with a 20% lift in sales compared to the previous year. However, the rate of growth slowed down each month through the quarter, with September’s sales 12% up from the same month last year. The continued expansion of service options from national players and new third-party providers helped drive this growth. With more consumers than ever before taking advantage of convenient delivery options, it is likely that this trend will continue in the coming months.
Grocery delivery gained 5.4 points of share of eGrocery sales in the third quarter versus last year, bringing its total share for the quarter to almost 39%. Order frequency remained essentially unchanged on a quarterly basis compared to last year, although it declined during both August and September. Grocery Delivery’s AOV for the quarter climbed 12% compared to the prior year, causing it to surpass Grocery Pickup’s spending by about $5 per order for the same period.
The US eGrocery market continued to experience challenges in the Ship-to-Home channel in September, with sales declining 17% versus the prior year. This was only slightly better than the channel’s performance in August, when sales were down 19% compared to the previous year. Ship-to-Home contracted at a faster rate each month during the quarter, shrinking nearly 11% in September and ending the third quarter down more than 6% compared to 2021.
According to the latest data, the rate of cross-shopping between Grocery and Mass increased during both the most recent month and quarter by more than 2 and 3 percentage points respectively versus prior periods in 2021. For September, the share of households that used both a Grocery and Mass service during the month was 28% while for the quarter the share finished at 29%.
Lastly, Mercatus found that successful online grocery retailers are able to navigate competing business priorities, manage through resource constraints, and keep a tight focus on building customer demand. 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.