CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Even as the limits created by the pandemic ease, online grocery sales in the United States continue to grow, albeit at a smaller and uneven pace, according to a new report from Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass. The firm’s report “U.S. Online Grocery Snapshot: Q4 2021” was developed with data from market research firm IRI, Chicago.
The report focuses on several topics related to online grocery sales, including category growth in eight edible and nonedible categories looking back four quarters, trends in click-and-collect and e-commerce sales growth, and the effect of inflation.
Key findings include:
- Food as a percentage of e-commerce now stands at 37% vs. 26% pre-pandemic.
- Online food sales have boosted Walmart and smaller grocers. Edible items tend to be purchased at Walmart and via click-and collect, the report said. Smaller grocers now capture 65% of all online edible perishable sales, up from 55% pre-pandemic.
- In the majority of categories, most sales are still offline. All food categories have single- or low-double-digit of online sales, and in three categories sales actually declined since their peak during the pandemic.
- Click-and-collect continues to emerge as an e-commerce strategy. Forrester estimates 15% of online grocery sales are click-and-collect orders, up just two percentage points from fourth-quarter 2020.
- Inflation is affecting consumer shopping strategies. Prices have risen 6% over the past year, but 77% of shoppers stated they have noticed higher prices.
- As a result, 37% of U.S. online adults said they were buying more private-label brands.
The grocery report is based on responses to Forrester’s November 2021 Consumer Energy Index and Retail Pulse Survey, which was fielded in November 2021. This online survey included 509 respondents in the United States and 527 respondents in the United Kingdom. Pure Spectrum, Westlake Village, Calif., fielded the survey on behalf of Forrester.
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