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The latest monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey is out, concluding that "the U.S. online grocery market finished June with $7.1 billion in total sales, down 1.2% compared to last year’s $7.2 billion … Although more households bought groceries online in June than last year, these users completed fewer orders during the month and average order values (AOV) had mixed results across the segments. 

"The number of monthly active users (MAUs) buying groceries online expanded by slightly more than 1% in June and the overall average order value (AOV) rose 3% versus a year ago, however, neither of these gains was great enough to offset the more than 5% drop in the average number of orders completed during the month.

"In addition, a greater number of MAUs, nearly 70%, chose to use just one of the three fulfillment methods to receive their online grocery orders, up over 200 basis points (bps) compared to the prior year. Pickup’s penetration rose 140 bps to 56% while Ship-to-Home’s fell 390 bps to 41%, and Delivery dipped 250 bps to 39%."

The survey took note of what it called "some interesting trends:

"Pickup, much like last month, continued to buck the downward trend experienced by the other two segments. In June, Pickup sales grew 3.2% versus a year ago and accounted for nearly 49% of all eGrocery sales, up 200 bps from last year. Sales climbed largely due to an MAU base that expanded almost 4% during the month although its AOV slipped 40 bps on a year-over-year basis. 

"Delivery dipped for the second straight month. The segment’s sales declined 2.5% compared to June last year, causing its sales share to fall by 50 bps to just under 35%. A 5% contraction in MAUs during the month drove most of the sales decline as Delivery’s AOV increased by more than 7% versus last year. 

"Ship-to-Home continues to face headwinds as US households continue to shift how they receive online grocery purchases. The segment experienced a 9.7% drop in sales compared to June last year, capturing just under 17% of all eGrocery purchases during the month, a drop of 150 bps versus a year ago. Lower spending per order was also a factor as its AOV fell 1% on a year-over-year basis."

KC's View:

The same economic factors that are affecting every other component of retail are, of course, affecting e-grocery.  It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that people are placing fewer orders and opting for less expensive pickup when they have the option.

The mistake is thinking that e-grocery, more and more a mainstream offering, is likely to buck the trends.   E-grocery is traveling the same river as every other retail entity - sometimes it is propelled forward by rapids, and sometimes it gets hung up on the rocks.

But the river keeps running, and only a fool would pretend that it does not exist.  Depending on where you're going, it may be the fastest route between two points.,