Brick Meets Click: US online grocery sales hit nearly $100bn in 2021 becoming a 'pickup-dominant market'

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Getty Images /  LeoPatrizi
Photo Credit: Getty Images / LeoPatrizi

Related tags Online grocery shopping Brick Meets Click

Total US online grocery sales for 2021 reached $97.7bn as more than 70% of US households (93 million households) shopped online at least once during the year, heavily preferring pickup services to delivery and ship-to-home, reported Brick Meets Click.

According to the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey​ fielded on Dec. 29-30, 2021, the US has become a "pick-up dominant market,"​ which encompasses in-store, curbside, lockers, and drive-up online grocery services. 

The survey found that out of the $8.9bn of online grocery sales recorded in December 2021, $7.1bn came from delivery/pickup vs. ship-to-home (e.g. FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other parcel carriers). 

While Brick Meets Click combines sales data from both pickup and delivery (e.g. first- and third-party deliver providers including Amazon Fresh, Instacart and Shipt), David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, noted a clear rising consumer preference towards pickup. 

For the full 2021 year, the pickup segment grew its share of online sales to 45%, up 5% versus 2020, while delivery’s share remained relatively unchanged at 33% and ship-to-home’s dropped 5% to 22% share of online grocery sales last year.

“Even before the pandemic started, Pickup was preferred over Delivery. Then in April 2020, Pickup took the top spot away from Ship-to-Home, and it’s kept that spot ever since," ​said Bishop. 

From a consumer spending behavior standpoint, Brick Meets Click found that Online grocery's annualized share of total grocery spending for 2021 was almost 13%, up nearly two percentage points from the previous year. 

Repeat purchase intent is also growing, noted Brick Meets Click, which found that the likelihood that a monthly active user will order again from the same online grocery service in the next month was 62.9% for December 2021, 7.6% higher than the previous month. 

“If retailers are surprised by these results, it’s likely because they are missing a broader view of how and where customers are shopping online for groceries,”​ added Bishop. 

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