Online grocery sales rose 43% in March compared to the same month in 2020, underscoring just how important omnichannel solutions have become a year into the Covid-19 pandemic.
Online grocery sales, including both ship-to-home and delivery/pickup orders, reached $6.5 billion in March 2020. In March 2021, those sales hit $9.3 billion, according to a new U.S. Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey that queried 1,811 adults who participated in the household’s grocery shopping.
Consumers were also spending more across the entire retail sector, with March sales rising 7.4% from February, according to data from the National Retail Federation. The month showed strong results all around, reflecting consumer confidence as the Covid-19 vaccinations continue to roll out and Americans are spending more thanks to recent stimulus checks from the federal government.
“A year since COVID-19 changed how we live, work and shop, online grocery demonstrates continued strength and impressive staying power,” David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, said in a statement. “The monthly active user base remains robust, average order values are at similarly elevated levels and order frequency has gone up.”
However, while sales rose, volume of transactions fell year over year. In March 2021, 69.3 million households placed online orders, down from 74.5 million households during the same period last year.
Most of the decline came from the number of households that ordered groceries shipped to homes through contractors, with the ship-to-home segment declining 27% from March 2020. More people were looking to pick up their online orders at the store, with the segment gaining 12% year over year, while delivery rose 23%. Pickup remains the most popular order method.