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Instacart said 30-minute Priority Delivery is designed to “bring the in-store express lane online.”

Instacart kicks off Priority Delivery

New 30-minute online grocery service part of push to speed delivery times

Instacart has unveiled 30-minute Priority Delivery, a new online grocery service designed to “bring the in-store express lane online.”

San Francisco-based Instacart said Thursday that Priority Delivery is being launched at more than 300 stores in over 15 major U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Participating supermarket and specialty grocery chains in the initial rollout include Ralphs, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market and Stater Bros.

Through Priority Delivery, customers will be able to receive their online grocery orders in as soon as 30 minutes, Instacart said. The service also marks the debut of a new experience on the Instacart marketplace: A lightning bolt icon highlights in real time the fastest delivery windows available to customers.

Instacart Priority Delivery-screenshot.jpgWith Priority Delivery, Instacart is introducing a lightning bolt icon in its online marketplace and app that designates the fastest available delivery times. (Image courtesy of Instacart)

“For many customers, every minute counts when they’re in a pinch and need something in a hurry,” Daniel Danker, vice president of product at Instacart, said in a statement. “With today’s launch of Priority Delivery, we’re redefining the ‘quick run to the store’ and bringing the grocery express lane online for customers.”

Plans call for Instacart to launch Priority Delivery at more retailers in U.S. and Canadian cities over the coming months. The company said the rollout spearheads a broader effort to expedite online grocery delivery. Along with 30-minute service, Instacart aims to expand 45-minute and 60-minute delivery for more customers in more cities across the country.

“We know that no two grocery shops are created equal, whether it’s a bulk buy for the week ahead or just a few ingredients for tonight’s dinner,” according to Danker, who joined Instacart in March from Uber Eats. “So we’re launching new features that support the many ways people shop for their groceries today.”

Coresight ResearchCoresight Research-U.S. Online Grocery Survey 2021-delivery speed.png

Instacart’s moves to hasten delivery times reflect U.S. grocery shoppers’ rising need for speed. A new survey from Coresight Research found that nearly 69% of online grocery customers opt for fast service, with 26.1% of those polled preferring two-hour or less delivery and 42.7% choose same-day delivery (over two hours).

Similarly, NielsenIQ research released last month revealed declining consumer interest in longer times for home delivery and rising interest in speedier delivery. Twenty-seven percent of shoppers polled considered same-day delivery in September 2020, up from 23% in September 2019, NielsenIQ reported. Likewise, 10% of consumers surveyed preferred same-day delivery in September 2020 versus 7% of shoppers in September 2019. Meanwhile, in September 2020, 40% of online customers preferred two-day or more delivery versus 51% a year earlier, and 16% favored next day delivery versus 20% a year earlier.

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