After a pandemic-fueled boom, growth in the grocery delivery space has slowed to a crawl. While some adopters are still hanging on to delivery, the incentive is no longer the same as it was in 2020, presenting major challenges for the industry. Instacart, one of the leading innovators on the delivery scene, recently slashed its valuation by almost 40% and moved forward on taking the company public. 

With many anticipating the IPO, CivicScience looked at where Instacart sits today among American consumers. A recent survey finds that 18% of U.S. adult respondents have experience using Instacart, while an additional 10% haven’t used it before but are interested (n=2,770). 

How does Instacart fare in the broader context of grocery delivery? Considering that approximately one in three Americans report having experience with grocery delivery (n=4,440), it’s probable that around half of all grocery delivery adopters have tried Instacart before. 

That said, close to half of people who have used Instacart say they don’t like it, as shown in the first chart. Survey data indicate the same goes for grocery delivery a a whole – close to 1 in 2 who have tried it say they don’t like it.

Aligned with those findings, current usage trends show that 10% of adults use Instacart regularly (several times a month or more) to shop for groceries, while the majority of people who have experience with Instacart use the service once a month or less (n=2,740).

CivicScience data show that heavy Instacart users are more likely to be under age 35, women, parents, and remote workers, which suggests a strong bent toward convenience and embracing a stay-at-home lifestyle that is supported by ecommerce and delivery. In a fiercely competitive industry, Instacart continues to rank among the most popular services for grocery delivery. A look at five competitors (n=2,757) finds that among respondents who have used one or more of the services, Instacart came in second, beating out Amazon. DoorDash was the most popular service included in the survey, although it’s worth noting that the app is more focused on restaurant delivery. 

What do rising food prices mean for Instacart? Although a study from March found that cost of service was not the biggest reason keeping more people from using grocery delivery services, a separate survey shows that consumers are rapidly changing how they shop, including more sale and discount hunting and buying less in general. Instacart shoppers are no exception; in fact, they are more likely than non-users to forgo making a grocery purchase due to price.

Given that CivicScience data suggest Instacart users are more likely to be younger and earn $50K or less per year compared to non-users, it makes sense that the service’s users are more affected by rising prices. What role Instacart plays in these kinds of shifting consumer behaviors is something to explore further. One obvious takeaway from the survey, however, is that as Instacart plans to further develop its retail partnerships, using its platform to connect users to deals and discounts could be key.

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