Online Grocery Consideration Growth - Will It Last?

It’s no secret that online grocery shopping has seen tremendous growth as the result of Coronavirus. It’s a great way to stay out of crowded stores and with the “stock up” purchase behavior, it’s easy to meet minimum spend delivery requirements. The surge in online grocery shopping has jumped from 11% to 37% among US adults in March alone; but is it making a strong enough foothold to sustain this momentum in the wake of COVID-19? 

The quick answer -- yes, to some extent, and the extent to which this trend holds can have a significant impact on the industry as a whole. 

Now, for the long answer with rationale:

  • E-commerce spending trends typically have a step-growth pattern. Q1-Q3 remain steady. Then, there is a surge in Q4 around the holidays. However, when it comes to Q1 of the new year, e-commerce usage doesn’t dip back to the previous year’s Q1-Q3 levels. Rather, it is relatively sustained and continues to step up in Q4 of each year. As a result, consistent usage of online grocery shopping has seen 26% growth since 2015. 
  • Consumer habit formation is strongest when it happens consistently each week over several weeks/months, as opposed to happening every several weeks/months. Social distancing has created a strong need for grocery delivery, and as a result, more consumers are consistently using the service over the last few weeks and will continue to use it until they feel safe going back out to stores.

Without a doubt, when the dust settles on the COVID-19 crisis, we do anticipate that people will go back to stores in person; however, even if a few consumers maintain the habit of using online grocery delivery every few weeks, it could have a lasting impact on the grocery industry. 

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