E-Grocery Performance Drops for Conventional Grocers

e-grocery bin

Conventional grocers saw a nearly 7% drop in e-grocery sales on a same-store basis during the 12 weeks ending Sept. 28, 2021, according to a new report from Brick Meets Click, due to a 3.1% decrease in orders combined with AOV dropping nearly 4% as the pandemic effect lessened.

The report was based on anonymized transaction data from nearly 950 stores at 45 U.S. retailers. The average weekly online sales per store during the period was $18,164, down 6.8% from 2021, and AOV was $106, down 3.9%.

Interestingly, the length of time that retailers had operated e-grocery services did not correlate to lower online sales, Brick Meets Click found. It reported that 7% of locations had been doing e-grocery business for less than a year, yet they didn’t report significantly lower sales vs. stores that had been doing so longer. Prior reports had noted a strong, positive correlation between maturity of service and sales.

What did positively correlate to sales was offering customers choice in terms of how their e-grocery orders were fulfilled. For stores offering both curbside pickup and home delivery, weekly online sales were 44% higher than stores just offering delivery and 55% higher than stores just offering pickup.

Overall, home delivery accounted for more than 60% of all e-grocery orders in the period studied, but when customers were given the choice of delivery or pickup, delivery’s share dropped to just over 50%. Just under half the stores offered this choice.

Stores in medium-sized markets saw higher weekly sales than stores in higher density communities, compared with 2019, when the opposite was the case. This was “most likely due to the growth in the availability of competing online services in the larger markets,” Brick Meets Click concluded.

The company began the performance benchmarking research in 2016 with 17 grocery store chains, increasing to 45 banners in 2021.