US Online Grocery Snapshot: Q1 2020

IRI Data Shows Which Essentials Shoppers Most Frequently Buy Online

The grocery sector is huge, but online grocery shopping has had mixed results. Thin margins, execution challenges and elusive demand have hindered its growth, and it remains to be seen whether the boost in demand due to COVID-19 will continue post-pandemic.  

Forrester partnered with IRI to understand the size and scope of online grocery in the U.S., analyzing edible vs. nonedible performance, category growth, fulfillment type and challenges. The IRI E-Market Insights data cited throughout this research was gathered at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was incorporated where relevant.

Products were aggregated into three categories that encompass product sales at grocery stores: nonedibles/nonfood, nonperishable edibles/food and perishable edibles/food.

Some highlights from the research:

  • The online groceries that people choose to buy are heavily correlated to how they receive the items.
  • Only 4% of perishable goods are sold online and continue to present the biggest challenges for delivery and even pickup.
  • All edible categories (both perishable and nonperishable) are experiencing high double-digit year-over-year growth.

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