BARRINGTON, ILL.  – Online grocery sales in the United States for April came in 16% ahead of online grocery sales totaled in April 2020, according to data from Brick Meets Click/Mercatus’ Grocery Shopping Survey fielded April 26-28, 2021. 

“Online shopping has remained an attractive way to buy groceries for a sizable segment of the US,” said David Bishop, partner, Brick Meets Click. “Last year, retailers were in a race to meet the dramatic surge in demand. This year, it’s about executing a sound and sustainable strategy, with the imperative squarely on improving integration and implementation.” 

Key takeaways from the survey include: 

  • 67.8 million US households bought groceries online in April, a 12% decline versus a year ago. However, this decline in shopper base was offset by higher engagement as April’s monthly active users placed more delivery and pickup orders. 
  • Monthly active users placed an average of 2.73 online orders during April 2021, up slightly from 2.68 orders one year ago. Year over year, the share of orders received via the ship-to-home segment dropped nearly nine percentage points, with pickup and delivery gaining six and three percentage points, respectively.  
  • Over 35% of monthly active users received orders via two or three different methods in April 2021, up almost three percentage points on a year-over-year basis and 20 points higher than pre-pandemic August 2019 levels.  
  • The repeat intent rate, which measures the likelihood that a monthly active user will make another order within the next month with the same grocery service, jumped to 55% for April, up 5% versus a year ago.  

“As the country opens, we’re consistently seeing double the number of active online shoppers compared to pre-COVID,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO, Mercatus. “At the same time, we know there’s increasing frustration with poor execution as evidenced by the widening repeat purchase gap between first- and fourth-time online customers. My message to grocery retail executives is blunt. There are no shortcuts. If you want to maximize the value of your digital investment, you also need a well-thought-out operations plan – one that can flex in response to shopper demand and help deliver a top-notch ordering and fulfillment experience.”