Grocery Delivery Saw Big Gains in March

Third-party providers' aggressive expansion, faster delivery services drove the segment's growth, Brick Meets Click's David Bishop says
March online grocery sales
Image courtesy of Brick Meets Click

Online grocery sales were down 6% overall in March vs. a record-setting performance a year ago, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus reported April 7, but grocery delivery bucked the trend in a strong month for the segment.

Delivery sales surged 20% year over year in March to $3.5 billion, according to the latest monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus e-grocery market survey. The number of delivery orders placed by regular users climbed, too—13%—and average order value rose 7%. 

In contrast, sales for online grocery's largest fulfillment segment, pickup (curbside or in-store), slid nearly 11% in March, down to $3.8 billion from $4.3 billion a year ago. Ship-to-home sales, meanwhile, dropped more than 30% to $1.4 billion, with the average basket size for ship-to-home orders shrinking 23%.

The contraction in pickup and ship-to-home sales weighed on online grocery sales overall, with e-grocery sales totaling $8.7 billion last month—equaling February's tally—vs. a record $9.3 billion in March 2021. On a quarterly basis, online sales were off 2.5% in the first three months of 2022 vs. the same period a year ago.

David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, said two factors drove the strong performance for grocery delivery in March. "First, the aggressive expansion of third-party providers into grocery is enabling additional ways for people to shop online," Bishop said in a statement. "Second, newer services focused on faster cycle times are appealing to a broader range of trip missions and usage occasions."

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Brick Meets Click and Mercatus additionally found that those who regularly ordered groceries online from conventional grocers also continued to cross-shop with mass merchandisers in March: The share of grocery's monthly active online users who also ordered online from the likes of Walmart and Target last month increased almost 4 percentage points to 29%, according to the researchers.

Brick Meets Click and Mercatus fielded their latest survey of nearly 1,700 U.S. shoppers March 28-29.



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