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Increased Capacity Spurs Online Grocery Sales in June

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Even though the economy reopened in June in most parts of the country, many consumers still did their grocery shopping online.

U.S. online grocery sales reached a record $7.2 billion in June, a 9% increase over May, as 45.6 million households used delivery and pickup services to satisfy a larger portion of their grocery needs, according to a Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey fielded June 24-25.

Order frequency grew from 1.7 to 1.9 orders per month for active households, illustrating that the role of online grocery continues to expand in an increasing number of households, the survey found, noting that the growth of total sales in June was fueled by increased concerns about the coronavirus and additional online fulfillment capacity across the markets:

● In June, 44% of all households reported high levels of concern about someone in their household contracting COVID-19, up 2 percentage points from the previous month. The increase was almost entirely driven by a 9% increase among shoppers in the over-60 age segment since May.

● The capacity for online order fulfillment via pickup and home delivery increased as more retailers, especially independents, launched services as larger chains aggressively worked to offer both delivery and pickup options, and as retailers added labor or improved pick productivities via tech solutions.

“Many grocery retailers have demonstrated amazing agility since the health crisis started, building surge capacity to better meet the astronomical growth in demand for shopping online,” said David Bishop, partner and research lead for Brick Meets Click, a Chicago-based strategic advisory firm that focuses on how digital technology and new competitors are changing food marketing and sales. “This increase in online grocery capacity has flipped the equation. Today, as shoppers have more choice, the increased capacity is now actually enabling the continued growth of online grocery.”

Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, said as grocers adopt e-commerce offerings to meet shopper demand, it’s imperative that they consider the entire customer journey in order to capture repeat shoppers.

“When evaluating potential e-commerce platform providers, grocers must assess the complete ecosystem of partners and their capabilities, from digital advertising to picking and fulfillment, and the impact of those relationships,” said Perrier, whose Toronto-based company offers an e-commerce platform for grocers.

The online survey consisted of 1,781 adults, 18 years and older, who shop for groceries.

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