Online grocery sales slightly drop in January

Brick Meets Click has released its monthly online grocery shopping survey from January 2022, showing a slight decrease in online grocery sales from December to January.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Brick Meets Click and Mercatus have released their first monthly online grocery report of 2022, showing that the U.S. online grocery market generated $8.5 billion in sales during January. The survey was fielded Jan. 29-30 with 1,793 adults taking part.

Total January 2022 sales were down 8% compared to January 2021, with mixed results across the three receiving methods (pickup, delivery and ship-to-home). Only pickup made sales gains, growing almost 2% to $4.0 billion. Delivery contracted 7% to $3.0 billion and ship-to-home sales fell dramatically by 30% to $1.5 billion, driving nearly two-thirds of the total YOY sales decline.

The January 2021 stats show a drop off compared to last month, as the U.S. online grocery market captured $8.9 billion in sales during December to close out 2021. Over 69 million households shopped online that month, a slight increase from $8.6 million in sales during November of 2021. 

“These sales results show that circumstances connected to COVID continue to disrupt the way people shop, but in different ways than earlier in the pandemic,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “Increases in COVID case rates no longer have the same effect on buying patterns due in part to progress with vaccinations. The loss of financial assistance is another factor since the economic impact payments and child tax credits that many households received in 2021 have ceased. And, if that’s not enough, many retailers altered store operations in January to address the labor shortages associated with COVID-related absences and a tighter labor market."

January 2022 online grocery shopping data

The number of U.S. households that bought groceries online during January of 2022 remained relatively steady at 69.0 million, falling just 1% versus last year. January finished with an average of 2.7 orders per month placed by monthly active users (MAUs), 5% fewer than January 2021 but still 33% higher than pre-COVID levels (August 2019). The year-over-year drop was entirely due to a pull-back in ship-to-home’s order frequency, which shrank by 36%, while pickup and delivery grew by 26% and 10% respectively.

The weighted average order value (AOV) across all three receiving methods in January 2022 remained flat, declining less than 0.5% compared to 2021, but the results for each receiving method varied. Spending on ship-to-home orders shrank the fastest during the period as its AOV dropped almost 11% compared to a 3% drop for pickup and a 2% gain for delivery.

“Grocers have a clear opportunity to drive stronger repeat purchase behavior,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO, Mercatus. “In addition to providing a great customer experience, they also need to understand which loyalty drivers are unique to their customers and brand. When it comes to online grocery shopping, consider adding perks that cater to behavioral and emotional triggers, like offering a wider range of preferred pickup times or more frequent pickup time slots."