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August online grocery sales climb 8.7% .jpg Getty Images
Shopper interest in buying groceries online remained strong as the August monthly active user (MAU) base expanded nearly 5% compared to a year ago, which reflects households that completed one or more online orders received via Pickup, Delivery, or Ship-to-Home.

August online grocery sales climb 8.7% year-over-year to $9.3B

Pickup sales drove three-quarters of gain while delivery sales stalled due to lower demand

As many households engaged in back-to-school activities, the online grocery market in the U.S. grew 8.7% compared to last year, ringing up $9.3 billion in sales for August 2023, according to the latest monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey fielded Aug. 30-31, 2023. Household demand for both pickup and ship-to-home was strong during the month, while delivery experienced a slowdown in order volume and mass continued to attract many more customers than supermarkets.

Shopper interest in buying groceries online remained strong as the August monthly active user (MAU) base expanded nearly 5% compared to a year ago, which reflects households that completed one or more online orders received via pickup, delivery, or ship-to-home. Analyzing the respective MAU bases for each of the three methods showed that ship-to-home expanded by over 9% and pickup increased by nearly 6%, while delivery was up less than 1%.   

The total volume of eGrocery orders placed during August 2023 grew 5% versus 2022, driven almost entirely by the expansion of the MAU base rather than a change in order frequency by MAUs which was essentially flat versus last year. Order volume growth was unevenly distributed. Delivery, the only method to post a decline in order volume, fell almost 5%, while pickup and ship-to-home climbed 9% and 10%, respectively, compared to 2022. The results also revealed that Amazon’s pure-play segments (e.g., marketplace, Subscribe & Save) contributed significantly to ship-to-home’s strong performance as its order volume finished up over 10% higher than last year.

“The combined average order value (AOV) for all three fulfillment methods grew 3% versus the prior year in August, which is below the current rate of inflation for the wider variety of grocery-related products that regional grocers often sell and extends beyond the Food-at-Home category,” stated David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “For grocers, it is important to see the specific trends for each method as pickup posted the highest gain of 6%, followed by delivery, up 4%, and ship-to-home, up 3%, compared to a year ago.”  

Driven by the uneven gains in MAU bases and AOV for each receiving method, there were shifts in sales share across the market. Delivery lost sales share, ceding 360 basis points year-over-year to end August with 38% of total eGrocery sales. Pickup captured more than three-quarters of the share lost by delivery and finished with 45% of eGrocery sales while ship-to-home claimed the remainder, ending with almost 18%.

Trends for the two formats with the largest MAU bases, mass and supermarket, continued to diverge from each other in two of three key performance indicators. The mass MAU base surged by almost 20% in August while supermarkets contracted by more than 10%. Similarly, order frequency for mass rose in the low single-digits but fell in the mid-single digits for supermarkets versus the prior year. AOV was the only metric where both mass and supermarkets reported comparable gains versus last year.  

Cross-shopping rates between grocery (which includes supermarket and hard discount formats) and mass continued to climb, increasing 490 basis points versus last year to finish the month at 34%. This is the highest level of cross-shopping to date and more than twice that of pre-COVID levels recorded in August 2019. The gap in repeat rates shrank slightly in August as the share of grocery customers who indicated that they are extremely or very likely to use the same service next month improved nearly two points to 60% while mass remained relatively unchanged at 68%.

“Online customer loyalty is increasingly elusive, and grocers should focus on creating more seamless experiences that keep shoppers – especially the first timers coming back,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO, Mercatus. “By providing personalized recommendations and promotions, based on shopping history and personal preferences, grocers can strengthen connections with their customers that go beyond simply the transaction and increase the likelihood of repeat business.”

The share of spending that online captured in August versus the same period last year slipped 20 bps to 13.9%. Excluding ship-to-home, since most conventional supermarkets don’t offer it, the adjusted contribution from pickup and delivery finished at 11.5%, down 20 basis points compared to a year ago, due to delivery’s weaker performance during the month.


Online sales were up 8.7% in August, with pickup sales representing three-quarters of the gain. Delivery sales were down due to low demand. Do you expect pickup sales will be the top contributor to online sales moving forward? 

Let us know in the comments below, or email your thoughts to the SN Staff at [email protected]. Be sure to include your full name 


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