Retail Foodservice

Grocery Gets a Black Friday Boost

Food and beverage sales surge over the holiday weekend
Grocery app
Photograph: Shutterstock

It wasn't just toys and tech deals that consumers were snapping up online on Black Friday.

Online grocery sales for Black Friday were up 397% over daily averages for October, CNBC reported, citing Adobe Analytics figures. The trend toward trip consolidation, which both Walmart and Target senior leaders mentioned in earnings calls earlier this month, stands to have benefited large retailers offering consumers deals in traditional Black Friday categories–electronics, toys and clothing–as well as the chance to pick up groceries in the same transaction.

Retailers are touting BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) and curbside pickup options this holiday season as offering convenience-seeking and COVID-concerned consumers the flexibility of contactless payment and the chance to minimize or eliminate time in-store. In Target's earnings call on Nov. 18, company Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan noted that sales for Target Drive Up (curbside pickup) were up 500% year over year in the third quarter. The Minneapolis-based retailer has put emphasis on expanding the number of stores offering groceries for pickup through this service. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart moved some of its expected top-selling holiday gifts online only in an effort to reduce crowding in-stores; for customers shopping at Walmart.com, the company's recently launched, Amazon-competing Walmart+ membership program promises "free unlimited delivery, from groceries to gadgets."  

Research firm eMarketer has predicted that online grocery sales will rise 53% overall (to more than $89 billion) in 2020 and will account for nearly 10% of total grocery sales by 2023. 

Overall, online sales for U.S. retailers reached a record-breaking $9 billion this Black Friday, Adobe Analytics found. That's more than 21% higher than online Black Friday sales in 2019, though still shy of Adobe's projection earlier this fall of $10 billion in sales for Black Friday 2020. In-store traffic was down around 52% from Black Friday 2019, Sensormatic Solutions reported.  

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