Online sales growth of three big grocery retailers

To avoid the risk of infection with COVID-19, a big shift in consumers’ willingness to buy groceries online occurred. Web sales for Top 1000 retailers in the food/grocery category increased 111.2% from 2019 to 2021, more than doubling.

Among the big beneficiaries of that move to online grocery shopping were three big retail chains in the Top 10 of the Top 1000: Kroger (No. 8), the largest traditional supermarket chain in the U.S. by both total and online sales, and two general merchandise retailers that also are leading food merchants, Walmart (No. 2) and Target (No. 5). Collectively, these three retailers increased their web sales 101.1%. Target’s two-year growth of 191.3% led the way, nearly tripling its ecommerce revenue in the two years of the pandemic.

While not all of that growth for Target and Walmart can be attributed to food, as they sell merchandise in many other categories, there is little doubt these retail chains benefited mightily from consumers’ growing willingness to buy groceries online.

Target, in particular, stands out as a retail chain that leverages its stores to fulfill online orders. As of early 2021, Target reported its stores handled about three out of every four online orders. That includes orders picked up in a store or at curbside, shipped from a store, or delivered via the same-day delivery service Shipt that Target acquired in 2017.

While ecommerce no doubt killed some stores, store-based retailers that effectively utilize their stores to cater to online shoppers are thriving in the digital age.

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