The following chart aptly tells the short saga of grocery delivery in the United States: the low pre-pandemic adoption rate gave way to a huge boost around March that quickly plateaued after just a few weeks. Current usage of grocery delivery services isn’t showing much movement, but with some regions starting to lockdown (and others consider it), the data might fluctuate. Right now, the more interesting story is the general shift in how people approach grocery shopping.
There are a number of ways to fill your fridge and pantry right now but the most popular is heading to the store and picking your items out yourself. In-store shopping represents 79% of U.S. adults who buy groceries. Outside of in-store shopping, curbside pickup shows the most appeal (8% of shoppers). Delivery services only account for 6% of shoppers.
Generally speaking, concern about being in public spaces pushes some consumers to use curbside pickup and grocery delivery services, but still only small percentages.
Income did not factor into where someone shops for groceries. Even though there is the added cost with a delivery service, lower-income households were just as likely as other households to use them.
Although, the younger someone is, the greater chance they have of using a delivery service rather than shopping in a store. Older age groups are predominantly shopping in stores, with those over 55 showing the highest rate. Gen Z has the highest percentage of grocery delivery service users when compared to the three other major age brackets. If older age groups aren’t shopping in a store, they are likely doing curbside pickup.
Contrary to what one might suspect, grocery shopping does not seem to share a correlation with convenience. Considering eating out and ordering in for dinners (rather than cooking for oneself or family, which requires groceries), those who eat out more than once per week actually shop for groceries in stores more than others.
No matter how someone’s job has been impacted by the pandemic, they are still mostly shopping in stores for groceries, but we see the greatest percentage of in-store shoppers among those who have been doing their jobs as usual during the pandemic – meaning no remote work, cut hours, or reduced pay.
There is a very good chance that these numbers will change should states and regions lockdown or instate harsher restrictions. But right now, only half of grocery delivery service users report being ‘very satisfied’ with their experience. Who knows, it could be curbside pickup that sees a jump.