Blue Apron loses 21,000 customers in Q2 2021 while setting record-level average order value

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Blue Apron
Photo Credit: Blue Apron

Related tags: Blue Apron

Meal kit company Blue Apron has lost some of its steam in customer retention, losing 21,000 customers in Q2 2021 compared to the same period last year, but says other key performance metrics including average order value and average revenue per customer are strong.

Total customers declined 5.3% from 396,000 in Q2 2020 to 375,000 in Q2 2021 (three months ended June 30, 2021).

On a quarterly basis (Q2 2021 vs. Q1 2021), customers declined by 18,000. This was a turn of events for the meal kit provider, which notched up its customer count by 15,000 in Q1 2021​ (three months ended March 30, 2021) compared to the same period last year.

Net sales for the company also dropped by 5% to $124m on a year-over-year basis.

However, other customer metrics continue to improve, said Blue Apron CFO Randy Greben.

“Orders per customer of 5.3 continues to track right around our highest levels reported, average order value was a record $63, and average revenue per customer was $330. It’s notable that average revenue per customer was more than $310 for the fifth consecutive quarter, the only quarters in which we have achieved that milestone since were prior to 2015,”​ said Greben.

CEO: Customer decline reflects a normalizing environment

The decline in its customer base and net sales was in line with expectations and reflects a return to a more normalized environment in which consumers can go out to eat more freely, said Blue Apron CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski, who add that the company has been monitoring customer behavior by geographic region throughout the pandemic.

“This internal data indicates that while the pandemic accelerated and heightened consumer awareness and interest in meal kits, as well as cooking more at home, it’s a trend we expect to carry on for some time. Our goal is to continue to implement initiatives that help differentiate Blue Apron from our peer set and grow the value we derive among our targeted consumer group,”​ said Kozlowski.

“This consumer segment places a lot of value on high-quality, unique ingredients, and easy to cook, delicious recipes.”

Blue Apron Premium

Launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, Blue Apron Premium products are offered in two-serving ($13.99 and $19.99 per serving) and four-serving options ($14.99 and $19.99 per serving) and feature elaborate, yet achievable, dishes such as crispy duck breast and wonton noodles, or seared yellowtail fillets and salsa macha.

Premium menu options drives customer engagement

Over the past year, Blue Apron has rolled out a number of premium and enhanced options to its meal kits including Butcher Bundles, Add-ons (appetizers, side dishes, desserts), and Craft Burger, increasing the number of menu options from 30 in March 2021 to 43 in July 2021.

According to Kozlowski, the company’s premium offering, which features specialty protein and more advanced culinary techniques and flavors, has contributed approximately 68% of the year-over-year improvement to average order value (AOV) per customer.

On average in Q2 2021, she said, 78% of premium orders each week are repeat premium customers.

“Every time a customer orders from Blue Apron today, they have more variety to choose from, including select customizable recipes, that allow them to personalize their order to meet their lifestyle. As we’ve discussed, this leads to increases in Average Order Value and Average Revenue per Customer, as well as customer retention and engagement,”​ said Kozlowski.

Blue Apron has seen a 25% boost to its average order value ($62.72 in Q2 2021 vs. $60.88 Q2 2020) and average revenue per customer for repeat customers has increased 26.7% on a two-year basis compared to the second quarter of 2019, reported the company.

Blue Apron is supporting its expanding new product roadmap with higher marketing spend, which increased from $11.6m (8.8% of net revenue) in Q1 2021 to $16.3m in Q2 2021 (13.2% of net revenue).

“We expect this will continue to drive improvement to AOV in Q3 and again in Q4, even before the introduction of other new products currently on our 2021 roadmap,”​ said Kozlowski.

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