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Although the price per order increased in 2023, the average number of monthly online grocery orders fell 6% year over year.

U.S. online grocery sales in 2023 reached $95.8 billion, according to annualized results from the monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopper Survey.

That’s a 1.2% decline from 2022, which Brick Meets Click and Mercatus attributed primarily to a decline in order frequency among online grocery shoppers. The data shows that U.S. online grocery sales decreased from 2021 to 2022, then again from 2022 to 2023. Online grocery sales had dropped to $97.0 billion in 2022 from $97.6 billion in 2021.

According to Brick Meets Click and Mercatus, the data is based on more than 21,000 survey responses collected in each of those years from adults, 18 years and older, who participated in the household’s grocery shopping. They define the term “grocery” as product categories commonly found in a conventional grocery store across fresh and packaged products.

“These annual results show that 2023 was very challenging for grocery retailing as higher prices chipped away at household purchasing power even though inflation has slowed considerably since its peak in 2022,” said David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click. “Despite the challenges, Pickup continues to prove its appeal to shoppers, even without the benefits of expanded availability and/or aggressive promotions that aided Delivery in 2023.”

US online grocery sales by channel in 2023

Online grocery sales that customers opted to pick up — in stores, curbside, at lockers or via drive-up — remained flat in 2023 compared to 2022. Pickup sales were also the largest among three categories, the other two being ship-to-home and delivery.

Brick Meets Click and Mercatus define delivery as including those from first- and third-party providers. Ship-to-home includes common and other parcel carriers.

In 2023, online grocery sales designated for pickup brought in $44.1 billion. That’s flat compared to 2022 and growth over 2021, when it was $43.9 billion.

Meanwhile, online grocery sales for delivery decreased to $35.4 billion in 2023. That’s down from $35.8 billion in 2022 but up compared with $32.5 billion in 2021.

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The largest contraction in online grocery sales was among ship-to-home orders, which dipped to $16.3 billion in 2023. That continues a downward trend from $17.1 billion in 2022 sales and $21.2 billion in 2021 sales.

Key findings compared with 2022

Average order value increased 3% year over year in 2023 when aggregating results from all three fulfillment methods. Although that does not account for price-inflation adjustments, each receiving method had year-over-year increases.

Average order value increases

  • Delivery: 3.0%
  • Pickup: 2.6%
  • Ship-to-home: 1.7%

However, order frequency contracted, Brick Meets Click and Mercatus found. So although the price per order increased, the average number of monthly online grocery orders fell 6% year over year. That follows a 4% decline from 2021 to 2022.

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