Retailers

Online Grocery Sales Up 6% Year Over Year in November

Mass merchandisers add 13 million households in the past year; traditional grocers add 4 million
online ordering
Photograph: Shutterstock

Online grocery sales in the U.S. saw an uptick in November, reaching $8.6 billion in the month after totaling $8.1 billion in October, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus reported Dec. 13. November's sales also were 6% ahead of the year-ago period, driven largely by an expansion of the active shopper base, according to the companies.

The latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, fielded Nov. 29-30, estimated that nearly 69 million U.S. households bought groceries online in November—a 15% jump from November 2020. More than one-third of monthly active users (MAU) are in the 30-44 age group, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus found; that cohort also is responsible for more than half of the MAU growth in the past year.

The weighted average online grocery order stood at $71.12 in November, up slightly from $70.65 in October. Consumers, wherever and however they shop, saw food prices rise last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted last week in its monthly Consumer Price Index report. By channel, that broke down to an average order value of $86.30 for delivery orders, $83.44 for pickup orders and $42.03 for ship-to-home orders—with the average ship-to-home spend now falling below that from pre-pandemic times. 

Pickup and delivery orders accounted for 81% of spend on online grocery orders last month, up from 73% a year ago. Dollar sales for ship-to-home have fallen 27% in the past 12 months, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus stated. 

Monthly active users placed an average of 2.68 grocery orders online in November, a 5% drop from November 2020. Declines in orders were found across market types except for large metro markets, which saw order frequency hold steady, according to the surveyors. Mass merchandisers such as Walmart and Target have seen the biggest audience gains in the past year, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus reported, adding an estimated 13 million new monthly active users since last November. Traditional grocers added around 4 million new MAUs.

November 2021 online grocery sales

In a changing marketplace for online grocery, it's more important than ever for grocers to have a deep understanding of what drives consumers to their concept, said Mercatus President and CEO Sylvain Perrier.

"Understand why your customers shop with you in-store and know what they value most from the experience," Perrier said in a statement. "Take this insight, work with your online partners to emphasize your key points of differentiation online by offering a shopping experience that is tailored to the shopper’s purchasing preferences."

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