Since the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States in March, grocery retailers have quickly pivoted to enhance and grow their online grocery offerings – and shoppers have responded in overwhelming numbers. With recent COVID-19 surges in many parts of the country, online grocery continues to be a critical service for American shoppers.
In June, for instance, U.S. online grocery sales hit $7.2 billion, up 9% month-over-month (though less than the big double-digit gains seen in April and May), according to the Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey.
Meanwhile, the capacity for online order fulfillment via pickup and home delivery grew as more retailers launched services, as larger chains expanded both delivery and pickup options, and as retailers added labor or improved pick productivities via technology solutions, according to the Barrington, Ill.-based strategic advisory firm.
“Many grocery retailers have demonstrated amazing agility since the health crisis started, building surge capacity to better meet the astronomical growth in demand for shopping online,” explained David Bishop, partner and research lead at Brick Meets Click, which analyzes the impact of digital technology and e-competitors on food sales and marketing. “This increase in online grocery capacity has flipped the equation. Today, as shoppers have more choice, the increased capacity is now actually enabling the continued growth of online grocery.”
Supermarket News has been following and developments in the online grocery space since the pandemic began, as retailers rolled out new initiatives, expanded existing services and responded to unprecedented demand for pickup and delivery. Here are some of the top stories we covered this spring and summer.