Online grocery is here to stay: Survey shows 43% jump in March sales

The Brick Meets Click and Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey reported online grocery sales reached $9.3 billion last month, up 43% from a year ago, with more users leaning into BOPIS.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Online grocery sales were up 43% in March compared with a year ago, according to the rolling Brick Meets Click and Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey. The month tallied $9.3 billion in grocery e-commerce sales, back on par with the record levels seen at the start of the year.

Last year in March, the survey of U.S. shoppers showed sales reach $6.5 billion for online grocery, just as the pandemic had begun to take shape. The new numbers represent the clear staying power of e-commerce grocery shopping.

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“A year since COVID-19 changed how we live, work and shop, online grocery demonstrates continued strength and impressive staying power,” said David Bishop, partner, Brick Meets Click. “The monthly active user base remains robust, average order values are at similarly elevated levels and order frequency has gone up.”

The ongoing independent research initiative created and conducted by Brick Meets Click and sponsored by Mercatus found that 69.3 million households placed one or more online orders during March 2021 versus 74.5 million a year ago.

One interesting behavioral shift to come out of the data is a clear turn toward buy online, pickup in-store purchases as the data saw a steep year-over-year decline in ship-to-home purchases, a drop of 27% in monthly users, whereas the pickup segment gained 12% and delivery service gained 23%.

Other findings from the study included: Monthly active users placed an average of 2.8 online orders during March 2021 compared with 2.5 orders a year ago, and the average order totaled around $84.