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Online Grocery Sales Expected to Triple

Online shopping is fundamentally changing the way consumers shop for groceries.

The average online grocery shopper spends 32.7% of their grocery budget online, according to Acosta‘s Online Grocery Pickup Accelerates Omnichannel Sales report. Forty-six percent of online grocery shoppers are getting their orders fulfilled via pickup services at the store, while 26% get groceries delivered to their home via a delivery service.

“Despite only 3% of grocery dollars coming from online, sales are expected to triple and reach $74 billion by 2023,” said Colin Stewart, EVP, business intelligence at Acosta. “Thirty percent of current grocery pickup shoppers noted they plan to use the service more often in the future—led by those who currently only rarely utilize the offering.”

Recently, Perdue Farms took note of this trend and launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site. Initially, it will offer frozen products from brands including Perdue, Niman Ranch, Coleman Natural, Sonoma Red, and Skagit Red. The company plans to add more selection as demand increases.

“As both online shopping and the demand for convenience show no signs of slowing down, we felt it was important to be in this space,” said David Zucker, Perdue Farms SVP of e-commerce and new ventures.

Millennial shoppers indicate spending the largest percentage of their grocery budget online at 40%, compared to 37% of Gen Z, 32% of Gen X, and 20% of Boomers.

Although online grocery pickup usage is inconsistent among shoppers, the majority of Millennials (50%) use it once a week or even multiple times a week. Having children in a household makes pickup more appealing as 44% of households with children utilize the service versus just 15% of those without them.

Thirty-seven percent of online grocery pickup shoppers rate the ability to track their spending as extremely important in making a service appealing, and 52% always or sometimes refer back to past purchases when building a new order.

Many shoppers also rely on online recipes to build their online basket. Forty-two percent always or sometimes use a retailer’s online recipe sections for ideas or to build their basket—rising to 64% for Millennials.

Meanwhile, 54% of online grocery pickup shoppers still make weekly in-store stock up trips, purchasing more than 10 items, and 45% make weekly fill-in trips, buying less than 10 items.

It is important to note that when ordering online, shoppers have issues with product size and ambiguity, with 53% reporting difficulty finding the item they are looking for due to lack of relative sizing. Fresh food in particular is a roadblock for online grocery pickup, but consistently drives in-store traffic. Seventy-two percent of online grocery pickup shoppers prefer to buy in store for certain products with the top items being fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat.