The overall sales decline of 2% was driven largely by an 8% drop in ship-to-home sales in July versus June and a decrease in average spending per order, reported Brick Meets Click.
Sales for pickup/delivery*, meanwhile, have stabilized, noted Brick Meets Click. Sales levels for pickup/delivery and ship-to-home are respectively 4.5 and 1.8 times greater than pre-COVID sales in August 2019.
“The July results clearly reinforce that online shopping has maintained a significant portion of last year’s gains, especially for pickup and delivery, but the surge in new COVID-19 cases during July appears to have impacted shoppers’ buying behaviors differently than at the onset of this crisis in 2020,” said David Bishop, partner, Brick Meets Click.
Order frequency also dipped slightly (just under 1%) in July to 2.68 orders per monthly active user during July 2021 as compared to 2.70 during the prior month.
However, consumers' slight shift toward grocery pick-up may be short-lived as concerns over the spread of the Delta variant build, according to Brick Meets Click.
“Although pickup continued to have the largest MAU (monthly active users) base, share of orders, and sales during July 2021, concerns about the Delta variant’s transmissibility may be motivating customers to temporarily shift away from pickup as a means of social distancing,” Bishop explained.
“Even though many retailers have implemented ‘contactless’ tactics since last year, pickup in the U.S. still often involves some degree of human contact, such as when an employee puts the order in the customer’s vehicle. So, for some, choosing delivery feels like a better, safer option as we navigate this next wave of COVID.”
*Delivery is defined as first- and third-party providers (e.g. Amazon Fresh, FreshDirect, Instacart, Shipt); Ship-to-home includes common (UPS. Fedex, etc.) and other parcel couriers