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Instacart Remains a Growth Driver in Grocery: 1010data

Findings reveal online grocery growth outstrips total e-commerce growth
Online grocery delivery
Photograph: Shutterstock

1010data, a self-service data management and analytics platform, has released the results of its Online Grocery Mini Report. The report, which has been tracking grocery delivery performance for 2021 vs. the prior year, reveals online grocery’s growth outstripped total e-commerce growth, resulting in a 8% year-over-year increase—higher than total e-commerce's growth increase of 6%.

Despite new entrants in the grocery delivery space, Instacart continues to be a powerful growth driver in grocery, the report says, realizing 14% growth year over year and leading in grocery sale. Instacart’s growth rate year-to-date vs. last year year-to-date (January-October) increased 19%—a stronger growth rate than the total grocery category, which has grown 15% since last year, year-to-date.

The report also found that Instacart was responsible for more than 50% of absolute growth that occurred in grocery during 2021.

Shipt, which captures a smaller market share than Instacart, experienced softer sales compared to last year’s year-to-date decrease of 27%, 1010data said.

The report reveals there is a slight shift in the types of products being purchased through grocery delivery, which may indicate categories that customers prefer to shop for in-store. Shelf-stable beverages and foods are driving increased sales on Instacart and Shipt, combined, while sales for perishable items and household items are declining. Toilet paper saw a year-over-year decrease of 13%, whereas egg saw a 16% decrease.

Health-centric keywords grew considerably year over yaer from 2020-2021, with vegan growing 10%, plant-based 28%, gluten-free 3%, grass-fed 11% and dairy-free 10%. Because of the desire to be healthier, 1010data anticipates online sales of fresh/perishable items to continue to grow as more consumers shift toward healthier options.

Meal kits are making an impact in grocery delivery, as well as grocery staple merchants. In fact, items with a mention of "meal kit" have seen 388% growth year over year, with over 85% of sales flowing through Instacart and Walmart, 1010data said.Snack kits saw a 2,900% growth year over year.

Further Insight

Market analyst Coresight Research released its Deep Dive report, Market Outlook: U.S. Grocery Retailers—Channel Stickiness Will Persist, on Feb. 10. The report includes a look at online grocery and how the competitive landscape is evolving.

In its report, Coresight Research estimates that U.S. online grocery sales grew 17.9% year over year in 2021. This is after a 94.4% growth in 2020, Coresight said. The shift, Coresight says, is “given the impact of the previously discussed return to dining out on grocery retail and the hit from increasing consumer willingness to in-stores.”

Coresight's U.S. Consumer Tracker found that throughout last year "one-fifth of respondents bought food online.”

Looking ahead to this year, Coresight expects markets to expand by 32%, with “over one-quarter of shoppers [planning] to buy groceries online more frequently after the crisis subsides than they did during the crisis.”

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