Why Online Grocery Shopping is More Popular Than Ever

By: Keith Wagstaff · July 08, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

When COVID-19 hit, many Americans embraced online grocery shopping. After the pandemic ended and being indoors with other shoppers became safer, consumers went back to supermarkets. But they didn’t abandon shopping for groceries online either. In fact, it has become more popular than it was during the pandemic, according to a new survey from Morning Consult .

Digital Shopping Carts

In 2021, with the pandemic still going, Morning Consult found that 17% of Americans had used home delivery for online grocery shopping in the preceding month. That number jumped to 22% in May of this year.

Among those consumers, two-third (67%) said they did it because it was convenient. Millennials, high-income households, and city dwellers were particularly likely to shop online.

The trend has benefitted Walmart (WMT) and Amazon (AMZN), who, respectively, are on track to account for 26.9% and 18.5% of online grocery sales by the end of 2024, according to data from Insider Intelligence .

Looking for Deals

Consumers haven’t abandoned physical grocery stores for online alternatives. Instead, high inflation has led to shoppers chasing deals, checking prices at multiple retailers, taking advantage of store brands, and loyalty programs to save money.

On average, Americans went to 20.7 retailers for groceries between March 2023 and February 2024, reported the Wall Street Journal , citing numbers from data firm Numerator. That’s up 23% from the same period of time between 2019 and 2020, and appears to spell the end of one-stop-shop shopping. They might, for example, hit up Costco (COST) for bulk items, Target (TGT) for affordable store brands, and Kroger (KR) for holiday sales. Younger urban consumers increasingly mix their grocery destinations like this.

Shopping around for deals can be a good idea if you are trying to stick to a budget. Other ways to save on groceries include planning your meals, shopping in season, and not hitting the grocery store, online or physical, when you’re hungry.

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