While pre-pandemic, the question as to whether consumers would ever fully embrace ordering fresh produce online was frequently pondered, a new report on online grocery shopping trends from DoorDash may put that question to rest for good.
The company’s Grocery Online Trends Ordering Report finds that produce was the No. 1 category for grocery delivery orders from June 2020 to October 2021, followed by drinks and pantry items. The report further found that nearly 60% of U.S. adults indicated they bought groceries online and that they would continue to do so post-pandemic. DoorDash predicts 21.5% of U.S. grocery sales will be online by 2025.
Consumers literally went bananas for online produce in the last year, as bananas of all kinds—individual, in a bunch, organic, green or yellow—“blew all other competition away across the U.S.,” said DoorDash, pointing to the pandemic-inspired banana bread-baking trend as a driving factor. Other popular produce items in online grocery were tomatoes, avocados, citrus and cucumbers.
“For grocery retailers, understanding the top trends in online grocery delivery can help shape strategic business initiatives to give customers the convenience and reliability they crave in an increasingly digital market,” the report said.
The report also explores regional differences in produce ordering, which DoorDash surmises has as much to do with how consumers make their guacamole as anything else.
“With a touch of heat from Michigan’s jalapenos, a burst of lime from Texas and Utah, and bright cilantro from West Virginia, nine states ordered a high amount of avocados and a staggering 25 of the states preferred to order Roma tomatoes through delivery,” finds the report.
What produce are shoppers buying most on a state-by-state basis? Roma tomatoes are resonating from California to Kentucky to Connecticut. Avocados are another cross-country hit with shoppers favoring the fruit in Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana and Rhode Island. Cucumbers are cool in Delaware and Wisconsin. Green bell peppers are tops in Illinois. Strawberries are sought after in South Carolina North Carolina, while online shoppers pucker up to lemons in Vermont and New York.
Online grocery shopping and delivery show no signs of slowing down, added the San Francisco-based technology and third-party delivery company. When it comes to grocery delivery in the last year, “third-party services have seen the largest growth (225%) in consumer spend on online grocery transactions,” noted DoorDash.
As many people continue to work from home, DoorDash sees consumers looking to online grocery shopping as a convenient way to get groceries delivered to their door without heading to the store. “Alternatively, our data shows that many people also use online grocery shopping to supplement larger grocery orders with items that may have been forgotten or needed at the last minute,” noted the report.
In terms of when shoppers are ordering groceries online, DoorDash data shows that customers placed grocery delivery orders fairly evenly throughout the week, with the highest percentage of orders coming in on Saturdays around dinner time.
“Throughout the week, orders start coming in as soon as stores open in the morning,” the company said. “They tend to peak around lunchtime and taper off around 7 p.m.”