Online grocery sales, which stood at $58.36 billion in 2019, will reach $89.22 billion in 2020, forecasts eMarketer Inc., a New York City-based research firm. That’s a 53% increase. The prediction comes as many states re-institute store capacity limits and urge individuals to leave their homes only as necessary.
“Amid the pandemic, millions of U.S. consumers have dipped their toes into online grocery shopping for the first time,” the eMarketer note says. “Meanwhile, those who made a few online purchases here and there pre-pandemic began to rely on these services even more.”
Online grocery sales will continue to grow through 2023, when it is predicted to reach $129.72 billion, according to eMarketer.
In addition to grocers adding e-commerce to their own sites, many, such as Aldi, are teaming with third-party delivery providers and enabling online EBT acceptance along with traditional credit and debit cards.
Online grocery sales, while typically lagging, really started to pick up around mid-2019, before the pandemic set in. At that point, the proportion of U.S. consumers who had bought groceries online in the prior 12 months jumped to 36.8% from 23.1% in the year leading up to mid-2018, according to survey results released Tuesday by New York City-based Coresight Research. The pandemic sped up that adoption.
With increased sales comes a larger number of users. EMarketer forecasts 131 million digital grocery buyers in the United States in 2020, a 41.9% increase from 2019. “And we don’t expect this habit to go away any time soon. In fact, the number of digital grocery buyers will continue experiencing steady growth through the end of our forecasting period in 2023, reaching 147.4 million,” eMarketer says.