Online grocery sales see slight dip in September

The monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus online grocery survey showed a slight decrease in total online grocery sales from August to September.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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After a bump in August following a slow May, June and July, online grocery sales saw a slight decrease in September compared to the previous month.

According to the monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Shopping Survey, online grocery sales in the United States reached $8 billion during the month of September, with $6.4 billion generated from the pickup/delivery space and $1.7 billion coming from ship-to-home services.

Brick Meets Click conducted the survey on Sept. 28-29, with 1,728 adults, 18 years and older, who participated in the household’s grocery shopping.

During the month of September, 64.1 million consumers bought groceries online, a 16% increase vs. August 2020 according to the Brick Meets Click research sponsored by Mercatus. For the same period, pickup/delivery’s combined monthly active user (MAU) base grew more than 33% while the ship-to-home user base contracted by over 12%. The pickup/delivery segment continues to expand, growing from 56% in August 2020 to 67% in September 2021.

“The combined pickup and delivery segment now captures nearly 80% of sales in the U.S. eGrocery market, and pickup hit a record-high portion of total sales in our September research wave, underscoring its critical role in a grocer’s strategy,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “Both the lift in order frequency and the shift to delivery/pickup as a receiving method illustrate how the pandemic has changed the way a sizable number of consumers shop for groceries.”





For September 2021, the weighted average spending per order across all three receiving methods totaled $69.65, which was down 12% from August 2020, but up 19% from pre-pandemic levels in August 2019. The likelihood that an MAU will order again from the same online grocery service in the next month landed at 61.4% for September 2021, up one and a half points from August of 2021. Compared to August 2020, however, this repeat intent rate is down more than 13 points, likely due to the high degree of concern about COVID that was pushing consumers to use these online services at that time.

“Conventional grocers need to take a closer look at their local market dynamics to understand how well they are performing online,” said Sylvain Perrier, Mercatus president and CEO.  “The mass merchandisers continue to set the pace and define the standard for digital grocery against which other retailers’ services are increasingly evaluated.  Now more than ever, it’s essential for grocery retailers to align their operational processes with a best-in-class customer experience to retain a competitive edge.”