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Grocery Omnichannel Sales Hit $1 Trillion in U.S.

Nielsen, Rakuten data finds online grocers ringing up $21.6B in sales in past 3 years
Photograph: Shutterstock

Today’s omnichannel grocery landscape is valued at more than $1.01 trillion, according to data from Nielsen and Rakuten Intelligence, marking a 2.6% increase from a year ago and a 3.4% increase from this time in 2016.

Through a new exclusive partnership that combines Nielsen’s online purchase data and product reference data with Rakuten’s consumer-sourced panel, the companies recently released a comprehensive report of the omnichannel retail landscape for the U.S. FMCG sector, which found that consumers are now spending more online versus in-store.

While e-commerce within the FMCG landscape represents just 5% of total FMCG sales, it represents 40% of year-over-year dollar growth. What’s more, as of the 52 weeks ending June 30, 2018, e-commerce sales have risen 16.6%, compared to total FMCG growth of just 0.1%.

Online grocers saw more than $21.6 billion in sales over the past three years, reaching 88% higher than in 2018 at nearly $11.9 billion, according to Nielsen and Rakuten. However, while that number represents 26% of online FMCG sales, brick-and-mortar continues to lead grocery, with in-store sales amassing $413 billion this year.

Yet the rise of click-and-collect is bridging the gap between online and offline retail, with click-and-collect purchases representing nearly half (48%) of all online grocery purchases in the 52 weeks ending Aug. 25, 2018.

Retailers including Tops Friendly Markets, The Kroger Co. and Amazon have recently rebranded or newly launched grocery pickup services to tap into this opportunity, but their various approaches reinforce the point that figuring out what works in omnichannel is still very much trial and error.

The Nielsen and Rakuten data also found that coffee, sports nutrition and cereal bars, and nutrition drinks are driving online grocery, with sales rising 6.9%, 14.1% and 22.5%, respectively.

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