The U.S. online grocery market finished December with $9.1 billion in total sales, up 2.4 percent compared to the previous year, and only 2 percent lower than the record high of $9.3 billion last seen in Q1 of 2021, according to the monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey.
December’s strong monthly sales results and year-over-year gain was driven by a combination of more households buying groceries online during the month and slightly higher average order values although these still trailed grocery price inflation. The average order value gains were partially offset by lower order frequency among monthly active users in December.
Sales by receiving method and format were mixed versus last year. Pickup was the only method to gain sales during December, up 14.7 percent. Delivery declined very slightly, down 1.8 percent, and ship-to-home dropped more dramatically, down 16.2 percent.
More than half of all U.S. households ordered groceries online during December, up 4 percent versus year ago. Pickup benefited the most from this increase in demand as almost 5 percent more MAUs opted to use this receiving method in December. Delivery was slightly positive, and ship-to-home experienced a drop of more than 8 percent in MAUs. By format, while the grocery MAU base climbed nearly 7 percent versus the prior year, the mass MAU base expanded nearly three times faster and attracted almost half of the total MAU base in December.
“The investments that mass retailers have put into their pickup services are a significant driver of the format’s gains,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “And while lower prices are a contributing factor in the growth of the mass MAU base, being able to more consistently execute at the store level is also helping to strengthen retention and engagement with existing customers, especially when compared to grocery.”
The level of cross-shopping between grocery and mass remained elevated for the second month in a row, likely driven by persistent inflation and/or a more acceptable experience driving mass’ customer expansion. During December, more than 30 percent of MAUs bought groceries online during the month from both grocery and mass, about 130 basis points higher than a year ago.
By: Craig Levitt, managing editor