Survey: Digital grocery sales hit new record as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Online grocery sales for home delivery and store pickup in April 2020 reached a new record.

According to the latest Brick Meets Click/Symphony RetailAI online grocery survey conducted April 22-25, online grocery sales reached $5.3 billion for a 30-day period, representing a 37% increase over March sales. 

Survey results indicate a combination of factors drove this significant month-over-month sales growth, starting with a 33% increase in the total number of online orders made per month.  Also contributing to the surge: a 3% increase in order size from $82 to $85 as households continue to stock up on essential products during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The number of active online grocery shoppers who received a home delivery or store pickup order grew slightly more than 1% from the previous month, bringing the total number of U.S. households shopping online for groceries to about 40 million for April. These online shoppers placed an average of 1.6 orders for either delivery or pickup during the past 30 days, compared to 1.2 orders during March. 

Slightly more than one-quarter (26%) of the surveyed households that had not bought groceries online in the last 30 days said they were extremely or very likely to try online shopping in the next three months.

Shopper satisfaction improved only slightly during the month, based on the likelihood to shop the same service provider again. In April 50% of households said they were likely to shop from the same provider again compared to 47% in March. According to Brick Meets Click, this reflects the challenges posed to online grocery shopping by out-of-stocks and limited availability for pickup and delivery time slots, as demand continues to outpace capacity.
Other notable findings include:

•    47% of all the households surveyed reported a high level of concern about getting the virus.

•    39% of all respondents reported a 25% or greater drop in their monthly income compared to the January/February 2020 time period. This represents an estimated 49 million households, a number that goes beyond unemployment figures to include people still working, but earning less.

"These two factors are particularly important for retailers to understand,” says 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." 
The research is part of Brick Meets Click’s monthly monitoring of COVID-19’s impact on online grocery.