January 11, 2024

2023 U.S. eGrocery sales total $95.8 billion, slipping 1% versus prior year

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2023 U.S. eGrocery sales total $95.8 billion, slipping 1% versus prior year

The U.S. online grocery market finished2023 with $95.8 billion in total sales, down 1.2% compared to 2022, accordingto the annualized results from the monthly Brick MeetsClick/Mercatus Grocery Shopper Survey .

  • A decline in order frequency byonline grocery shoppers was the primary factor driving the lower sales in 2023.
  • The multi-year analysisis based on more than 21,000 survey responsescollected each year during 2021, 2022, and 2023 from adults, 18 yearsand older, who participated in the household’s grocery shopping.

Topline

“These annual results show that 2023was very challenging for grocery retailing as higher prices chipped away athousehold purchasing power even though inflation has slowed considerably since itspeak in 2022,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “Despite thechallenges, Pickup continues to prove its appeal to shoppers, even without thebenefits of expanded availability and/or aggressive promotions that aidedDelivery in 2023.”

Key Findings: 2023 vs. 2022

Order frequency contracted

Order frequency among monthly active users (MAUs) contracted for the second year in a row in 2023. The average number of monthly online grocery orders completed (including all receiving methods) fell 6% versus 2022 following a 4% decline in the previous year. Contributing to the year-over-year contraction was an increase in the share of MAUs who made only one eGrocery order per month, which rose over 300 bps to 34% in 2023.

Average order values (AOV) increased

AOV, not adjusted for price inflation, rose 3.0% in aggregate in 2023 versus the prior year. Each receiving method posted year-over-year increases: Delivery AOV grew by 3.0%, Pickup increased by 2.6%, and Ship-to-Home rose 1.7% over 2022.

MAU base larger

The overall MAU base, which includes all three receiving methods, climbed 2.0% compared to the previous year. However, there was a 172-bps increase in the share of MAUs who used one method exclusively (Pickup, Delivery, or Ship-to-Home) to receive their online grocery order(s), and 70% of MAUs fell into this single-method user category in 2023.

Results varied across the receiving methods

  • Pickup, the largest of the three segments, finished the year relatively steady versus 2022, growing its share of eGrocery sales by 56 basis points (bps) to 46.0% in 2023.
  • Delivery, despite expanded availability due to increased competition among third-party marketplace providers, experienced a sales dip of 0.9% in 2023 versus the prior year but gained an additional 11 bps of sales share ending the year with 37%.
  • Ship-to-Home continued its annual contraction as sales slipped 4.9% on a year-over-year basis, leading to a 66-bps drop in sales share to 17%.

Competitive pressures increase for Supermarkets

Across the U.S. eGrocery market, price-value formats like Mass and Hard Discount experienced strong expansion in their respective MAU bases during 2023; in contrast, the Supermarket format experienced a contraction.

  • The average number of MAUs increased by 15% for Mass and 12% for Hard Discount versus 2022 while the Supermarket MAU base shrank by 4%.
  • On average, 50% of MAUs engaged with Mass in 2023, up 559 bps compared to 2022; 5% of MAUs engaged with Hard Discount, up 42 bps; and 32% of MAUs engaged with Supermarkets, down 194 bps.

Due to these shifts in buying behaviors,

  • Mass expanded its share of overall eGrocery sales by 460 bps in 2023 to 45% versus the prior year driven by the strong growth in its MAU base.
  • Meanwhile, the Supermarket format’s sales share contracted by 390 bps to 29% due to declines in both its MAU base and order frequency.

Cross-shopping between Grocery and Mass contines to increase

The percentage of households who bought groceries online from bothGrocery (Supermarket plus Hard Discount) and Mass during the same monthlyperiod rose 150 basis points versus 2022.

As a result, 30% of the Grocery MAUbase also shopped for groceries online with a Mass retailer’s service duringthe same month in 2023.

Repeat intent down YOY while the gap between Grocery and Mass widens

The composite repeat intent rate for Pickup and Delivery services associatedwith Grocery and Mass formats slipped by 63 bps to finish at 61% in 2023, andthat downturn was due solely to declining repeat intent for Grocery services,not Mass.

The share of MAUs who were extremely or very likely to use the sameservice again within the next 30 days climbed 48 bps to 66% for Mass while itfell 311 bps to 54% for Grocery.

Online's share of total spending down YOY

Online’s share of total grocery spending in 2023 pulled back by 18 bps versus the prior year to 12.5% based on the last week of spending in each month of the year across all retail formats.

Excluding Ship-to-Home, as most supermarkets don’t offer this service, the combined Pickup and Delivery segments fared slightly better, falling just 6 bps compared to 2022 and finishing the year with a 10.4% share of total grocery spending.

Sponsor's Message

"As Walmart grabs market share through its price leadership and omnichannel strategies, regional grocers find themselves in a precarious position. To remain competitive, they must intensify their efforts in improving customer engagement, offering tailored personalization, and building loyalty. This strategic shift is not just about weathering the storm of price inflation and intense competition, but about thriving in it," said Mark Fairhurst, Global Chief Growth Officer at Mercatus . "By providing a shopping experience that is both seamless and highly personalized, grocery retailers can retain their existing customer base and gradually attract a wider audience."

We thank the team at Mercatus for their continued generous support of this research. Click here to see the Jan. 11, 2024 press release .

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About this consumer research

The Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey is an ongoing independent research initiative created and conducted by BrickMeets Click and sponsored by Mercatus.

Results were adjusted based on internetusage among U.S. adults to account for the non-response bias associated withonline surveys. Responses are geographically representative of the U.S. andweighted by age to reflect the national population of adults, 18 years andolder, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Brick Meets Click used a similarmethodology for each of the surveys conducted in 2023 – Dec. 29-30(n=1,745); Nov. 29-30 (n=1,814); Oct. 30-31 (n=1,790); Sept. 28-29 (n=1,754); Aug.30-31 (n=1,704); July 29-30 (n=1,795); June 29-30 (n=1,769); May 30-31(n=1,792); Apr. 28-29 (n=1,746); Mar. 30-31 (n=1,742); Feb. 26-27 (n=1,745); Jan.30-31 (n=1,735); in 2022 – Dec. 28-29 (n=1,715), Nov. 29-30 (n=1,749), Oct.28-29 (n=1,732), Sept. 29-30 (n=1,752), Aug. 29-30 (n=1,743), July 29-30(n=1,690), June 29-30 (n=1,743), May 28-29 (n=1,802), Apr. 28-29 (n=1,746), Mar. 28-29 (n=1,681),Feb. 26-27 (n=1,790), and Jan. 29-30 (n=1,793); in 2021 – Dec. 29-30 (n = 1,836), Nov. 29-30(n=1,785), Oct. 29-30 (n=1,751), Sept. 28-29 (n=1,728), Aug. 29-30 (n=1,806),July 29-30 (n=1,892), June 27-28 (n=1,789), May 28-30 (n=1,872), Apr. 26-28(n=1,941), Mar. 26-28 (n=1,811), Feb. 26-28 (n= 1,812), and Jan. 28-31(n=1,776); in 2020 – Nov. 11-14 (n=2,067), Aug. 24-26 (n=1,817), Jun.24-25 (n=1,781), May 20-22 (n=1,724), Apr. 22-24 (n= 1,651), and Mar. 23-25(n=1,601); and in 2019 – Aug. 22-24 (n = 2,485).

The three receiving methods for online grocery orders aredefined as follows:

  • Delivery includes orders received from afirst- or third-party provider like Instacart, Shipt or the retailer's ownemployees.
  • Pickup includes orders that are received bycustomers either inside or outside a store or at a designated location/locker.
  • Ship-to-Home includes orders that are receivedvia common or contract carriers like FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.