Coresight Research released its “US Online Grocery Survey 2019” this week, finding that 36.8 percent of U.S. consumers bought groceries online over the past year, representing a jump from 23.1 percent in the firm’s 2018 survey. Year over year, Coresight says this is an increase of roughly 35 million more consumers buying groceries online.
However, that doesn’t mean every aspect of the online grocery biz is rosy. Coresight found that while more people may be buying groceries online, the vast majority aren’t buying much. According to the survey, “72.4 percent buy only a small proportion of their groceries online while 11.8% buy a lot of their groceries online.”
When consumers are buying groceries online, Amazon.com is the top place to do it. Coresight says 62.5 percent of who bought groceries online did so through Amazon, which commands a double digit lead over competitors like Walmart and Target (see below). It should be noted, however, that most of this shopping is through Amazon proper, not Amazon Fresh or Prime Now, and that Amazon shoppers generally spend less on groceries there then at Walmart.com, Target.com or Kroger.com, making Amazon shoppers “occasional or small-basket online shoppers.”
While Amazon may be in the lead when it comes to the number of online grocery shoppers, Walmart and Target are both making gains. Coresight’s study found the portion of people buying groceries online who bought from Walmart was 37.4 percent, up from 25.5 percent in 2018, same goes for Target.com, which nabbed 15.7 percent of online grocery shoppers, up from 6.9 percent in 2018.
News of this growth comes at a time when retailers are investing heavily in automation to speed up the fulfillment and delivery of these online grocery orders. Albertsons and Walmart are piloting in-store micro-fulfillment and Kroger is building out robot-driven warehouses and self-driving delivery vehicles. This ability to expedite online order processing will make online grocery ordering for consumers more convenient and should spur even more online grocery order growth.