The U.S. online grocery market finished January with total sales of $8.5 billion, up 1.8 percent compared to 2023, according to the most recent monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopper Survey fielded January 30-31. Monthly results varied by the receiving method and format as mass grocery expanded market share while supermarkets contracted.
Across all formats, online grocery is growing its slice of the overall grocery market. The last week of January it accounted for 13.4 percent of total weekly grocery spending, increasing 1.2 percentage points from January 2023.
“When more than 10 percent of U.S. households have less money to spend on groceries this year than they did last year, changes in buying behavior are certainly expected,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, in a statement. “The reduction in SNAP payments that took effect at the end of February 2023 is one of the factors driving the flight-to-value trend which we’ve observed and tracked since mid-2023.”
Despite a jump in the total number of households buying groceries online during the month, January’s overall sales growth was moderated year-over-year by a downward trend in order frequency and an average order value that was nearly flat compared to the prior year.
The findings also reveal that:
• Ship-to-home was the only segment to grow year-over-year as sales edged up to $1.5 billion in January, 7.8 percent higher compared to a year ago, ending the month with 17.4 percent of total online grocery sales.
• January’s delivery sales of $3 billion slipped slightly, down 0.5 percent versus 2023, as the three percent growth in its average order volume could not offset the larger decline in order volume. Its share of online grocery sales slipped .82 percentage points to 35.3 percent for the month.
• Pickup remained the top format, but pickup sales fell 1.9 percent to $4 billion for January mainly due to lower order frequency and volume by monthly active users. It finished the month with 47.3 percent of online grocery sales, down 1.42 percentage points versus January 2023.
• Led by Walmart, mass grocery continued to outperform the broader market, expanding its monthly active user base by almost 10 percent while also posting a healthy uptick in average order volumes.
• Supermarkets faced headwinds: their monthly active user base contracted by more than five percent, the average number of orders completed by these users fell by a larger rate, and the average dollars spent per order pulled back slightly.