Instacart, which has seen order volume for its online grocery delivery grow by more than 150% year over year in the past few weeks, plans to hire an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers over the next three months—more than doubling the size of its full-service shopper community—in order to meet the growing customer demand for grocery delivery and pickup in North America.
As consumers around the country and the globe are being told to stay home and do their part to contain the spread of the coronavirus, San Francisco-based Instacart has also seen average customer basket size increase by 15%.
“The last few weeks have been the busiest in Instacart’s history, and our teams are working around the clock to reliably and safely serve all members of our community,” said Apoorva Mehta, Instacart founder and CEO, in a statement. “We expect to see continued customer demand and, as a result, we’re opening up 300,000 more full-service shopper roles across North America.”
While the U.S. unemployment rate was low before the coronavirus, James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, recently told Bloomberg News that he predicts the unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus.
“As more people look for immediate, flexible earnings opportunities during this time, we hope that Instacart can be an additional source of income for those looking to earn while also delivering for the communities in which they live,” Mehta added.
Instacart plans to bring on shoppers from across North America, where it operates in more than 5,500 cities. Some of the largest areas of opportunity includeCalifornia, where it plans to hire 54,000 new full-service shoppers, New York (27,000 new full-service shoppers), Texas (18,000), Florida (15,000), Illinois (15,000), Pennsylvania (12,000), Virginia (12,000), New Jersey (12,000), Georgia (9,000) and Ohio (9,000).
“U.S. grocers have served as the backbone of the communities they operate in for decades. Now, more than ever, they provide a critical service for Americans confined to their homes and in need of the basic necessities amid the spread of COVID-19," said Suzanne Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a release.
“Instacart is serving as a critical lifeline for millions of people and hundreds of businesses during these uncertain times,” Clark continued. They’re not only connecting people from all 50 states to the groceries and goods they so desperately need, but they’re also stepping in to support the economy by unlocking much-needed earnings opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people who can no longer rely on their previous incomes.”
Last year, Instacart launched a number of perks for its shoppers, including shopper injury protection and a comprehensive insurance plan that covers shoppers in the event of an accident while shopping or delivering with Instacart; access to the Stride Benefits Platform, which provides health and finance options, including the ability to purchase health insurance; a Care.com membership for child or family care; and access to Peanut Butter, a student loan assistance program.
Instacart says it’s actively working with local and national authorities to monitor COVID-19 as it evolves and is adhering to recommendations from public health officials to ensure the company is operating reliably while also taking the appropriate precautionary measures to keep the Instacart community safe.