How Instacart has outsmarted Amazon

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How Instacart has outsmarted Amazon


A visit to a Publix store is bound to reveal a legion of Instacart shoppers roaming the aisles – and now we know why.

According to new research from Edison Trends, a San Jose, Calif.-based e-commerce intelligence company, Publix is Instacart’s top-selling online grocer. In fact, despite losing Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market as a partner in May, Instacart has more than made up for the loss by adding new business from retailers such as Publix Super Markets Inc., Costco Wholesale Inc. and Wegmans Food Markets Inc. as grocery delivery continues to grow more popular among shoppers. It seems as though Instacart has become an addiction not just for shoppers, but also for the majority of grocers in the United States.

Instacart’s legion of shoppers now roam the aisles of more than 300 grocers and food retailers in the United States, around 100 more than last year. The grocery delivery service now covers 80% of U.S. households, up from 35% in 2017. 

Instacart was valued at around $7.8 billion when it raised $871 million last year. 

Meanwhile, online grocery sales overall have grown 15% so far this year, according to an analysis from Barrington, Ill.-based consultancy Brick Meets Click.

The top five grocery brands in terms of Instacart orders over the last 24 months were Publix, Whole Foods, Kroger, H-E-B, and Costco, according to Edison Trends. Publix took the lead in May 2018; this past September, the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocery chain had 69% more Instacart orders than its next-closest competitor, Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco. 

Other key takeaways from the research:

  • Kroger's online orders through Instacart have grown by 86% in the last year
  • Wegmans has taken Whole Foods’ place in the top five of Instacart grocers
  • Costco has shown the most growth through Instacart, with 99% more orders this past September than in September 2018

Further, the grocery delivery company has set its sights on what it thinks is the next area of grocery growth: alcohol delivery. Instacart has expanded alcohol delivery to 14 states and Washington, D.C., from nearly 100 different retailers.

Grocery partners that participate in alcohol delivery on Instacart include Albertsons, Kroger, Publix, Schnucks and Stater Bros., alongside wine and liquor stores such as BevMo!, Binny’s Beverage Depot and Total Wine & More.

The list of states where Instacart offers alcohol delivery include California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C.

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