Home delivery and store pickup online grocery sales reached a new 30-day record for April, hitting $5.3 billion and marking a 37% increase from $4 billion in March, according to the latest Brick Meets Click and Symphony RetailAI Online Grocery Survey.
Strategic advisory firm Brick Meets Click said Tuesday the month-over-month sales growth reflects a 33% increase in the monthly number of online orders, from 46.9 million to 62.5 million, plus a 3% gain in order size — from $82 to $85 — as households continue stock-up purchases of essential products. The Brick Meets Click/Symphony RetailAI poll was conducted April 22 to 25.
Compared with March, the number of active online grocery shoppers in April who received a home delivery or picked up an order at a store rose just over 1%, lifting the total of U.S. households shopping online for groceries from 39.5 million to about 40 million for April, Brick Meets Click reported. On average, online shoppers made 1.6 orders for delivery or pickup over the past 30 days versus 1.2 orders for March.
Customer satisfaction with online grocery service also edged up in April. For the month, 50% of households said they were likely to shop from the same service provider again, compared with 47% in March. Brick Meets Click said that result indicates current shopping experiences are still impacted by out-of-stocks and limited availability for pickup and delivery time slots, as COVID-19-driven demand outpaces capacity.
Health and financial concerns among consumers remain key factors shaping online grocery shopping behavior, whether for delivery or pickup, the Brick Meets Click/Symphony RetailAI survey shows.
Forty-seven percent of households polled expressed a high level of concern about getting the virus. Meanwhile, 39% of respondents reported a 25% or greater drop in monthly income versus the January/February time period. Brick Meets Click noted that percentage represents an estimated 49 million households, a number that “goes well beyond unemployment figures” because many of those people are earning less despite still having a job.
“These two factors are particularly important for retailers to understand,” according to David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “The level of concern that customers have about health affects how they choose to shop — online or in-store — and the loss of income impacts where consumers shop and what they buy.”
On the plus side, the latest Brick Meets Click/Symphony RetailAI study results revealed more potential for the growth of online grocery business. Twenty-six percent of households that hadn’t bought groceries online in the last 30 days said they were extremely or very likely to try online shopping in the next three months.
While this is good news for brick-and-mortar retailers offering grocery delivery and/or pickup services, it also represents a challenge, noted Kevin Sterneckert, chief Marketing officer at Dallas-based Symphony RetailAI.
“The ongoing shifts in spending mean that retailers will need to work carefully in applying historical sales data to forecast future sales, if they are going to be accurately aligned with shoppers,” Sterneckert said. “True demand, which includes lost sales and other characteristics beyond transactions at the register, is crucially important here. Today’s retail winners will be those that best understand their customers and can meet and exceed their expectations the fastest.”