Online Grocery Shopping Surges to Record Levels in US during COVID-19 Crisis

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a surge in online grocery shopping, increasing 193% since August 2019.

Getty Images 953800868 Grocery Delivery
Getty Images

Consumer research shows that 31% of U.S. households (about 39.5 million in total) have used an online grocery delivery or pickup service during the past month, according to the Brick Meets Click/ShopperKit Online Grocery Shopping Survey conducted March 23-25, 2020. Monthly users have more than doubled since Brick Meets Click’s August 2019 survey, which found 16.1 million, or 13% of households shopped this way.    

Twenty-six percent of the online grocery shoppers surveyed (or the equivalent of 10.3 million U.S. households) indicate that they’re using a specific online grocery service for the first time. This rate of new users jumps to 39% for shoppers 60 years and older.

Overall monthly order volume has surged 193% versus August 2019 levels. This significant increase is due to the increased number of households using grocery delivery and/or pickup services and a jump in monthly order rates, which is up 19% compared to August 2019.      

COVID-19 is changing the way many Americans shop today, but will this increase last? When asked how likely they were to continue using a specific online grocery service after the COVID-19 crisis subsides or ends, 43% of the survey respondents indicated that they are either extremely or very likely to do so.

“This is a reflection of current circumstances,” explained David Bishop, Partner at Brick Meets Click. He added, “Some households are only using these online services temporarily until they feel comfortable shopping in the stores again. Other households will continue shopping online for groceries but may choose to switch providers based on the quality of their experience.”

Read Next: The Rise of Online Grocery Fulfillment Explained

The new Brick Meets Click/Shopper Kit survey also found that 30% of those who haven’t bought any groceries online during the past month* (equivalent to 16.3 million U.S. households) are extremely or very likely to place an online grocery order with a home delivery or store pickup service in the next three months if the crisis continues.

“The COVID-19 health crisis has clearly fueled a tremendous surge in demand in the very near term. And, even though some households will not stick with online grocery pickup or delivery services post-crisis, others will shift to this method of shopping going forward for a host of reasons. This is an important shift for the industry, and we will continue to monitor the trends,” says Bill Bishop, chief architect, Brick Meets Click.