COVID-19 drives surge in online grocery sales

10 Apr 2020

Confinement and supermarket shortages have driven more shoppers to purchase online with NYC-based tech firm Chicory reporting increases in online orders that surpass U.S. holidays, including Halloween and Fourth of July.

In addition to an overall increase in Americans shopping online for their groceries, Chicory reported that the average order rate among top ingredients has increased 123% between January and March as compared to the same time period last year. The top five ingredients seeing increases are pasta with 699% growth, canned crushed tomatoes with 316% growth, evaporated milk with 287% growth, tomato sauce with 269% growth and canned green chilis with 245% growth.

COVID-19 drives surge in online grocery sales

Other top ingredients include canned beans, dried fruit, fresh dairy milk, chicken, eggs, cauliflower, and white rice. Online sales of eggplant and cucumbers decreased by 13% and 35% respectively.

The data was pulled from online orders placed from recipes that featured the company’s “Get Ingredients” button and eCommerce ads for brands

While Chicory data comes from its network, which includes brands like General Mills and stores supermarkets like Wakefern, retailers are also reporting surges in online grocery sales.

Last year, only 4% of U.S. grocery sales came from online orders, according to Nielsen data. In the first quarter of this year alone, CNN Business reported that “online grocery shopping is exploding” with 41% of those purchasing online being first-time buyers.

Part of this growth comes directly from retailers’ own built-in online ordering systems, but third-party apps have also seen staggering growth. Between February and March, daily downloads of Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt apps have seen surges of 218%, 160% and 124% respectively, according to TechCrunch.

These steep increases to online ordering mimic trends for Halloween and surpass online ordering volumes for the Fourth of July. The increase in online orders does not rise to the order of magnitude seen for the Super Bowl, Christmas or Thanksgiving. Still, retailers are struggling to keep pace.

CNN Business reported that Ahold Delhaize has added web servers to accommodate increased demand. Other retailers like Walmart, Albertsons, Meijer and Hy-Vee are turning toward technology and automation within warehouses as well as increasing staff and adjusting schedules to keep from being overwhelmed by the demand for products.

Consumers may or may not continue to rely on online grocery ordering once the pandemic has subsided. However, these trends may indicate the hastening of adoption of online ordering on a mass scale.

Related categories

Related tags

Market News Research

Related news

AB Inbev completes its acquisition of the Craft Brew Alliance

AB Inbev completes its acquisition of the Craft Brew Alliance

16 Oct 2020

The merger of AB InBev and the Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) is now finalized following the divestiture of brewery operations in Hawaii. In September the U.S. Department of Justice approved the companies’ decision to sell CBA's Kona Brewing operations in H...

Read more 
Chr. Hansen sells natural colors business unit to private equity firm

Chr. Hansen sells natural colors business unit to private equity firm

15 Oct 2020

After considering a sale for several months, Chr. Hansen sold its natural colors business to private equity firm EQT IX for EUR 800 million. The deal is expected to officially close in 2021.

Read more 
Roquette to open world’s largest pea protein plant in Canada

Roquette to open world’s largest pea protein plant in Canada

14 Oct 2020

As the food industry continues to grapple with the fallout from COVID-19, French ingredient manufacture Roquette remains undaunted in its efforts to ramp up production of its pea protein. The company began investing in expanding its production capabili...

Read more 
In Ireland, Subway’s sandwich rolls are not legally bread

In Ireland, Subway’s sandwich rolls are not legally bread

13 Oct 2020

The Irish Supreme Court ruled that Subway bread is not legally considered as such. Instead, its sugar content, which is five times above what Irish law specifies as the acceptable threshold for bread, lands the company’s sandwich rolls in the confectio...

Read more 
U.K. begins exporting beef to the U.S. for the first time since 1996

U.K. begins exporting beef to the U.S. for the first time since 1996

12 Oct 2020

After over two decades of prohibiting the importation of beef into the U.S. from the U.K., the government of the United States lifted the ban this October to allow for U.K. beef producers to trade across The Pond.

Read more 
Indian trade association calls to waive license renewals for food businesses

Indian trade association calls to waive license renewals for food businesses

2 Oct 2020

As the lingering pandemic continues to upend routine business practices the world over, Indian trade association, the Federation of All India Vyapar Mandal, is requesting that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) not require license...

Read more 
Plant-based dairy is now available in toddler formulas

Plant-based dairy is now available in toddler formulas

30 Sep 2020

Israeli-based Else Nutrition released its first plant-based toddler nutrition formula on Amazon at the end of September. However, the company is already conducting clinical trials to bring a vegan infant formula that replicates the nutritional properti...

Read more 
German coffee brand Tchibo arrives in the U.S.

German coffee brand Tchibo arrives in the U.S.

29 Sep 2020

Tchibo is debuting four of its blends at retailers throughout the U.S. Midwest as part of a pilot program that will determine the viability of a nationwide rollout at an unspecified later date.

Read more 
Two Mexican states ban junk food sales to children: A taste of things to come?

Two Mexican states ban junk food sales to children: A taste of things to come?

28 Sep 2020

Two Mexican states have moved to ban the sale of junk food to children and a national ban may be on the cards, according to one expert. Could this be a taste of future food policy around the world?

Read more 
Smithfield aims to be America’s first carbon-negative meatpacker by 2030

Smithfield aims to be America’s first carbon-negative meatpacker by 2030

28 Sep 2020

Earlier this month, U.S. pork producer Smithfield announced that it will render all of its company-owned operations carbon negative by 2030, meaning that it will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it produces. This ambitious plan accelerates t...

Read more