Mercator Blog

2019 a Breakout Year for U.S. Online Grocery Ordering
Date: June 26, 2019
Raymond Pucci
Director, Merchant Services
Some people do their grocery shopping every Thursday when discounts on weekly sale items become available. Others stop at the grocery after work on Friday to stock up for the weekend. Then there are those who never go to the store on weekends to avoid long checkout lines. Whatever the day and time, grocery shopping is a necessary routine carried out by every household. Supermarkets are probably the most frequently visited retailers other than Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and convenience stores (C-Stores).

U.S. consumers generally have their own supermarket shopping routines that typically occur more than once per week. Industry surveys put the average number of weekly grocery trips at 2.1 times. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average household grocery spending per week in the U.S. in 2018 totaled $109. Millennials make the most trips (2.3), followed by Generation X (2.2), and then Boomers (1.9).

The big U.S. supermarket chains have bulked up into megastores and offer one-stop shopping. Their departments range from florist to pharmacy to wine. Some people view the supermarket as a way to socialize and find out about local news. Many stores now serve as community centers with events such as wine tastings, cooking classes, and café environments for light drinks and food. Despite the current vitality of physical stores and consumer shopping behavior, online grocery sales have arrived and 2019 will see the largest U.S. volume thus far.

The research report, U.S. Online Grocery Shopping Takes Off but Remains a Challenging Channel, identifies key challenges and opportunities facing U.S. grocers and stakeholders.