As the world continues to normalize and behaviors regress to the mean post-pandemic, online grocery shopping is no different. According to a new report from online grocery research firm Bricks Meets Click, online grocery shopping in the U.S. dropped 3.1% in September vs last year, going from $7.8 billion in September 2022 to $7.5 billion this year.
According to the firm, a decline in order frequency and total dollars spent per order were the main culprits for the drop in online grocery revenue. The average number of orders per monthly active user (MAU) fell 8% year-over-year, finishing at 2.31 this year compared to 2.52 for September 2022. For recurring online grocery customers (shoppers who have used e-grocery four or more times), the average order value dropped from $104.39 in September 2022 to $100.49 this September.
This suggests that as most folks are comfortable returning to the world again, there is likely a natural adoption ceiling for online grocery shopping even as more grocers offer the service. Those who are either too busy with their lives to grocery shop or who can’t or don’t want to shop in the physical world likely will continue to be the most devoted users of online grocery shopping, while others will likely continue to mix in-person shopping with the occasional use of online grocery shopping.
One bright spot for online grocery is pickup. This shopping format, where shoppers order online and have their bags run out to them at a designated parking lot area, continues to eat into home delivery. According to Brick Meets Click, pickup was used by 58.7% of monthly active online grocery shoppers, compared to 53% of orders in September of 2022. First-party delivery (delivery by grocer or third-party service like DoorDash) dropped from 40.4% to 38.8%, and ship-to-home (delivery by common/contract carriers like FedEx) fell from 42.4% last year to 39.9% this September.