How COVID-19 Has Caused a Surge in Online Grocery Orders

Consumer survey forecasts ongoing surge in online grocery
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A sustained rise in online grocery shopping is poised to become one of the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new report forecasts a continuation of the surge of U.S. online grocery.  

“We expect U.S. online grocery penetration to extend its rapid Q1 growth into Q2, leading to 43% of U.S. consumers having used online grocery by the end of June 2020,” according to Business Insider Intelligence, whose recent report finds that while the pandemic is ongoing, “the surge in online grocery usage indicated by our survey suggests that this will be a continuing trend.”

To what extent grocery and e-commerce see further gains and growth will depend on how the pandemic plays out in later months.

“As consumers stay home and governments increasingly push for consumers to avoid contact with others, online grocery services' near contactless nature will likely entice more consumers,” said Business Insider Intelligence research analyst Daniel Keyes. “Additionally, grocery pickup and delivery will become more attractive options as [retailers] including Target and Walmart are beginning to restrict store traffic, meaning consumers may have to wait in line outside before being able to shop in-store.”

Already, the outbreak of the virus has begun to change the way Americans shop. COVID-19 has also altered the way that the industry itself thinks, from store design to the way shoppers pay for their groceries.

The report suggests that that the emergence of a COVID-19 vaccine may dictate how fast society returns to its previously normal patterns. Furthermore, if the emergence of a vaccine takes a year or longer to develop, or a second wave of a coronavirus outbreak occurs that would push consumers back into their homes for a longer period of time, “online grocery penetration will continue to rapidly climb.” 

Should the current health crisis extend to the end of 2021, the research—which was based on an online survey of 1,199 U.S. adults 18 or older on March 31—projects that it would lead more than 60% of U.S. consumers to using online grocery by the end of 2022.


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