February Online Grocery Sales Grew 1.5% Compared to 2022

The latest monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey shows the changes in the grocery e-commerce market compared to February 2022.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Brick Meets Click February 2023

U.S. online grocery sales saw a slight increase year-over-year in February, reaching $8.8 billion according to the monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey.

Fielded Feb. 26-27, online grocery sales increased 1.5% in the month compared to February 2021, when sales were $8.7 billion. Excluding ship-to-home sales, the core online grocery segments of delivery and pickup slipped 1.2% compared to last year which reflects a drop of almost 9% in delivery sales and a gain of nearly 5% for pickup during the month.

The year-over-year growth in online sales, which includes private label products, was partly driven by an increase in monthly active users (MAUs). MAUs climbed more than 5% in February compared to the same period in 2022, according to the survey. This marks the second straight year-over-year expansion of the user base as it grew over 10% between February 2021 and February 2022.

U.S. households used only one of the three receiving methods for online orders in February, increasing nearly eight percentage points versus last year and returning to levels similar to February 2021, around 72%. The number of orders completed by MAUs fell to its lowest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, finishing the month at 2.49 and down almost 9% on a year-over-year basis. While all three receiving methods experienced saw the downtrend to some degree, delivery posted the largest and most dramatic drop in order frequency.

“The expanding user base for online grocery illustrates its growing reach, but the changing role it plays is evident from contractions in the use of multiple receiving methods and average order frequency, which mostly muted the gains in reach,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click.

Mass continued to attract more customers year-over-year, according to the monthly survey, while grocery shrank again. In February, the mass MAU base surged more than 20% versus 2022 after a similar surge last month. The grocery MAU base contracted in the mid-to-upper single digits for at least the second straight month.

“The changes in the mass and grocery user bases illustrate what could be characterized as a ‘flight to value’ as shoppers deal with persistently higher grocery prices,” added Bishop. “Another sign of inflation’s impact on eGrocery ordering patterns is the continued growth that pickup has experienced over the last few months while delivery has encountered a pullback in users.”