October online grocery sales numbers carry over from September

Brick Meets Click and Mercatus' Grocery Shopping Survey showed nearly identical online grocery sale numbers in October compared to September.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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The monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey has been released for the month of October, and shows nearly identical results from the previous month.

The U.S. online grocery market generated $8.1 billion in sales during October, driven by $6.4 billion from the pickup/delivery segment and $1.7 billion from ship-to-home. The month of September showed $8.0 billion in online grocery sales, and almost the exact same numbers for pickup/delivery and ship-to-home methods.

Brick Meets Click conducted the survey on October 29-30, with 1,751 adults, 18 years and older, who participated in the household’s grocery shopping.

During October, about 50% of U.S. households (63.8 million) bought groceries online, according to the research of Brick Meets Click and sponsored by Mercatus. The size of the current monthly active user (MAU) base remained larger than the total number of households in August 2019 who had placed at least one online grocery order during the past year. Pickup continued to be the most popular way to receive online orders in October, with a MAU base of 33.4 million households. Ship-to-home’s MAU base had 29.8 million households but has contracted each month since July 2021. Delivery served 26.2 million households in October.

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“As the number of new COVID-19 cases in October continued to decline, key performance indicators (KPIs) for monthly active users, order frequency, and average order value are rebalancing from the record highs of 2020 and now provide a more stable and sizable base for building and forecasting the business in 2022 and beyond,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “While the vast majority of online grocery shoppers still prefer to use only one method – pickup, delivery, or ship-to-home – over 30% of MAUs chose to use multiple methods to get their online grocery needs met in October 2021. And, the share of MAUs that received online orders via multiple methods has grown by over 16 percentage points since the start of the pandemic.”

The average number of orders placed by MAUs in October 2021 was 2.74, holding steady over the last few months. However, this order frequency is still 35% above pre-COVID levels and nearly 6% below the record high set in May 2020.

Pickup’s 37.9% share of orders for October 2021 was eight percentage points higher than November 2020 and ten points higher than pre-COVID, showing that most of pickup’s gains have occurred more recently. Yet, delivery’s October share of 29.6% was just a two-point gain versus November 2020 and seven-point gain over pre-COVID, revealing that more of its gains happened earlier. Both of those gains came from ship-to-home’s share, which contracted to 32.5% in October 2021, with nearly two-thirds of the share loss occurring since last November. 

The weighted average order value (AOV) across all three receiving methods totaled $70.65 in October 2021, which includes weighted averages of $85.13 for delivery, $80.88 for pickup, and $45.57 for ship-to-home. Although October AOVs were down across all the segments versus last year’s highs, pickup and delivery were 12% and 18% above pre-COVID AOVs respectively. Ship-to-home has returned to pre-pandemic levels with just a 2% gain versus August 2019.

The full October report can be found here.