Grocery retailers, which were slow to move online, are moving aggressively into e-commerce in 2016.

This is shaping up to be the year when buying food online becomes truly a mainstream—not a niche—part of the overall e-commerce market.

Online grocery sales—by far the largest part of the U.S. e-commerce food market—this year are expected to increase 157% and account for 6% of total grocery sales, according to a recent analysis by Morgan Stanley. Grocery chains, which have historically been slow to move online, are now aggressively expanding their e-commerce capabilities. More, for example, are offering in-store pickup or home delivery of online orders, often in partnership with delivery services like Instacart or Shipt Inc. The potential is huge. According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, grocery sales in the U.S. were about $690 billion in 2015.

Smaller, niche players, meanwhile, are finding opportunities to provide consumers with a new spin on food items like pre-portioned meal kits or organic food, often based on a monthly subscription model. Those small players are growing at astronomical rates through innovative marketing strategies and big investments in customer acquisition.

Internet Retailer’s first-ever 2016 Online Food Report documents how the online sale of food is suddenly a booming market and puts to rest the notion that food retailing is the exclusive province of stores. The 25-page research report, “Online Food Shopping Goes Mainstream,” identifies the major players driving this sea change in food retailing, reports on the market shares of the leaders, identifies and reports on the growth of the 44 online food merchants ranked among the U.S.  Top 1000 e-retailers, estimates the future growth of the online food retailing and explains the strategies of the leaders in this explosive new e-commerce market.

The report takes a close look at the online food industry and the leading merchants who serve it, including such behemoths as Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4), big grocery store chains like Kroger Co. (No. 83) and Safeway Inc. (No. 147), traditional e-grocers like Peapod LLC (No. 65) and Fresh Direct LLC (No. 73), and smaller fast-growing players with innovative business models such as Blue Apron Inc. (No. 231) and Thrive Market (No. 547).


The report contains:

  • Sales for the U.S. online food market in 2016, 2015 and 2014.
  • Data on Amazon and Wal-Mart’s online food sales.
  • Rankings and growth rates for 44 of the largest online food retailers.
  • Key demographics of the online food shopper.
  • Charts, interviews, case studies and other in-depth analysis.
  • Exclusive analysis of Kroger, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Peapod.

For more information about the report, visit this page.