Online Grocery Sales Fell in '23

According to the annual Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopper Survey, 2023 saw a decline of online grocery orders by 1.2% year-over-year in total online sales to $95.8 billion in the U.S. online grocery market.

It is the second year in a row the order frequency of active monthly users declined, according to the report, which surveyed 21,000 shoppers in the U.S. The report said this year-over-year contraction in online orders came in at 6% when compared to the prior year, which surpassed the 4% year-over-year decline in 2022. 

Despite the drop in online orders for the year, the base of people who did online grocery orders monthly rose 2% year over year. Shoppers appear to have largely settled on a receiving method with 70% saying they exclusively relied on either pickup, delivery, or ship-to-home. This is an increase of 172 basis points from 2022.

Mass merchandisers and hard discount grocers expanded their share of the online grocery market in 2023 by 460 basis points to end the year with 45% due to robust growth from frequent online grocery shoppers. The growth, however, came at the expense of supermarkets, which dropped 390 basis points to 29% for the year, a result of declining order frequency. 

Pickup continues to be the trendiest way of receiving online orders, growing its share of online sales by a modest 56 basis points to end the year at 46%. The Bricks Meet Click/Mercatus report said the expanded availability of delivery methods due to increased competition has not appeared to help grow the receiving method, which experienced a sales decline of 0.9% for the year and captured 37% of the online sales market. 

Shipping-to-home also fell in popularity, dropping 66 basis points to make up 17% of the market for the year. 

“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,” David Bishop, partner at Brick Meets Click, said in a statement. “