Online grocery sales rise again in November

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Online grocery shopping numbers continue to ride high, according to the rolling study by Brick Meets Click and Mercatus Grocery Shopping. The latest numbers show $8.1 billion in sales during November with U.S. households placing an average of 2.8 orders online during the month.

The November numbers are a big leap in comparison to August, where total online grocery sales came in at $5.7 billion for the month, down from $7.2 billion in June. Since May though, the study by the analysts has shown steady monthly sales of around $8 billion.

In the November survey, fielded Nov. 11 to 14, delivery and pickup segments captured the greatest share of online sales and active delivery and pickup shoppers reported a record-high repeat intent rate at 83%, per the study.

“Concerns about contracting the virus, stay-at-home orders, or retail restrictions motivated many to try a service within the last nine months, and now a significant share of those households considers online shopping a desirable alternative to an in-store trip. This presents opportunities as well as threats to established business models and practices,”said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, Barrington, Ill. Bishop recently spoke during a webinar on private brands leveraging e-commerce that is available free on demand.

In November, online grocery sales attributed to delivery and pickup services increased by 3.6% compared to August 2020. November’s improvement was largely driven by higher order volume, which increased more than 5% from August levels to 62.7 million monthly orders.

The growth in delivery and pickup orders was fueled by increases in the number of households who used delivery or pickup in the past 30 days and by higher order frequency. Comparing November to August 2020, the number of monthly active users grew about 3% to 38.7 million households while the average number of orders that these users placed increased 2% to 1.62 per month. 

“It’s evident the U.S. has an expanded base of engaged customers who continue to become more comfortable shopping online for a broader range of grocery products,” Bishop said. “And, when this happens as quickly as it has this year, it creates a range of challenges for service providers, including building capabilities and competencies, and managing costs and customers.”